Independent contracted workers in the State of Illinois now have new instructions for unemployment benefits due to lost work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced today the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program portal on their website, will go live next Monday, May 11th.
1099 workers who may be eligible for federal benefits under the PUA are required to first apply for regular unemployment benefits.
IDES Spokesperson Rebecca Cisco says those who file for state unemployment and receive an eligibility determination of $0.00 can then appeal the decision by providing wage verification, or may then submit a claim for PUA benefits.
Cisco says anyone applying for PUA must be ineligible for state unemployment, and applying for and being denied unemployment benefits is one of the steps in the process.
“We don’t want people to get discouraged if they receive an eligibility determination of zero dollars, because this is one of the steps they will have to go through when submitting an application for PUA.”
Cisco says those who have already been denied for benefits can apply when the web portal goes live next week.
“If you have already applied for regular unemployment benefits and you’ve received an eligibility determination of zero dollars, then they have already completed this first step, and so they should be prepared on May 11th to go onto the PUA portal and submit the PUA application.”
The PUA provides 100% federally-funded unemployment benefits for individuals who are unemployed for specified COVID-19-related reasons and are not eligible for the state’s regular unemployment insurance program, the extended benefit (EB) program under Illinois law, or the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (PEUC), including independent contractors and sole-proprietors.
IDES says up to 39 weeks’ worth of benefits are potentially available under the program for COVID-19-related unemployment claims.
PUA claims will be backdated to the individuals’ first week of unemployment, but no earlier than February 2, 2020, and will continue for as long as the individual remains unemployed as a result of COVID-19, but no later than the week ending December 26, 2020.
The program is similar to the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance program which provides unemployment benefits in response to local disasters. Those with questions or in need of assistance with unemployment benefits at this time are encouraged to visit IDES.Illinois.gov.