There are 57 million self-employed people in U.S. working as freelancers, consultants, solopreneurs, gig workers, independent contractors and small business owners.
If you’re self-employed, you typically don’t qualify for unemployment benefits when you lose income because you aren’t paying into your state’s unemployment system.
If your business is organized as an S-Corp and you’re paying yourself a salary, then you are paying into your state’s unemployment system and are eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
Under the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities Act (CARES) of 2020, unemployment benefits are being expanded to many self-employed workers, even if you haven’t paid into your state’s unemployment system.
However, it looks like one of the key requirements to receive unemployment benefits as a self-employed worker is whether or not the Coronavirus pandemic is preventing you from doing your job.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, due to the social distancing guidelines, you’re obviously unable to do your job.
On the other hand, if you’re a graphic designer and you’re starting to lose clients because they are tightening their budgets, you may not qualify because you can technically still do your job in isolation.
There are bound to be a lot of gray areas, so its best to contact your state’s unemployment agency or try applying to see if you get accepted.
If you’re eligible, you’ll receive roughly half the average unemployment benefits offered by your state, plus an additional $600/week from the federal government on top of your state’s benefits.
Here are more self-employed unemployment and lost income relief options.
- Freelancer Emergency Fund
- COVID-19 Artist Relief Funds
- ConvertKit’s Creator Fund
- Facebook Small Business Grants Program
- GoFundMe Small Business Relief Fund
- JP Morgan Chase Entrepreneur of Color Fund
- Amazon Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund
- SBA Disaster Assistance
- Check your state governor’s website for economic relief options
- Visit your city’s or local municipality’s website for economic relief programs
- Student loan payment deferment for 6 months
- Income Tax Deadline + April 2020 Estimated Tax Extended to July 15, 2020
- Check your state’s tax relief options
Customer Funding Ideas
- Start a subscription service.
- Start a membership model.
- Ask your customers what challenges they are facing right now to find a new business idea.
- Explore how to move your business online or how to conduct it virtually.
Additional Relief Ideas
- Make a list of all your monthly business expenses and renegotiate your payment terms.
- Call your credit card company to see what relief they are offering.
- Get in habit of asking everyone you know, your favorite companies and your local government about new sources of funding or economic assistance.
- Reach out and build relationships to expand your customer base over the longterm.
- Check out our Lifestyle Calculator to assess your spending.