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Delaware getting set to launch jobless benefits for independent contractors, self-employed

Delaware Public Media

Independent contractors, the self-employed and others can start using a new system to apply for unemployment insurance benefits next week.


The CARES Act created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to help some losing work that are not usually eligible for jobless benefits.  

They can start filing their claims next week - the week of May 11th. 

Under the federal guidelines, independent contractors and the self-employed must first apply for benefits through the traditional unemployment system and receive a letter of denial.

That will trigger a second letter explaining potential eligibility for PUA with instructions on how to apply, how to access the new website, login details, and documentation needed to apply.

Darryl Scott, the director of Delaware’s Division of Unemployment Insurance, explains how much those applying for these benefits can earn.

"Because of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program has a minimum weekly benefit amount of $133 individuals can submit documentation pay stubs, w-2's, tax returns, 1099's, etc, that may qualify them for a higher weekly benefit amount up to $400 a week."

Scott adds the program is retroactive from when it was approved March 15, meaning those out of work since then can seek benefits for that entire period.

"When they submit their initial claim they'll be able to answer questions about each of the weeks they may have been impacted. So for an individual that was unemployed when the governor announced the state of emergency and non-essential businesses were closed they'll be able to or answer questions for each of those weeks and when we make a decision yes or no on the claim we'll be able to pay them for all the weeks that they're eligible from that time forward."

Scott notes if a person in these newly eligible groups has already applied for traditional unemployment and been denied, then the first step for getting PUA benefits is completed.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.
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