self employed

If you weren’t eligible for unemployment benefits before, you may be now. Governor Charlie Baker announced Monday that Massachusetts residents can apply online for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig workers and those with limited work history are included in this new update.

To be eligible for the program, residents must provide self-certification that they are able to work but are prevented from doing so by COVID-19-related circumstances (this includes their own illness or, a family member’s).

However, if you are working fewer hours resulting in a loss of income due to COVID-19 and are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits, you may be eligible for PUA.

In the past few weeks, 5.2 million Americans and a total of 103,000 Massachusetts residents have filed initial unemployment claims, which is the biggest surge on record. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, this is the fourth straight week of surging demand due to COVID-19.

“As a commonwealth, we are committed to doing everything in our power, and moving as urgently as possible to get workers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis the benefits they deserve,” Baker said. With the implementation of this new federal benefit program, we can better support workers not normally covered by the unemployment system like those who are self-employed or work in the gig economy.”

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Application Process

A full list of required documents is available here.

  • Must provide your Social Security number OR a US Citizenship and Immigration Services number
  • Provide wage records for 2019, including 1099 forms, pay stubs, or bank statements.
  • Applicants will also need the Social Security numbers and dates of birth for dependent children
  • Bank account and routing numbers, if requesting a direct deposit for payment

If you are interested in applying to the PUA program, applicants can learn more and apply at