Unemployment Assistance Available Now for Self-Employed, Contractors, Gig Workers

HARRISBURG – A new system is available to provide unemployment assistance to individuals who are self-employed, contractors, gig workers and others who do not traditionally qualify for Unemployment Compensation, according to Senate Appropriations Chairman Pat Browne.

“The sheer economic impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on workers and small businesses is unprecedented,” said Senator Browne.  “Since the beginning of the crisis, state government has been working to ensure that there are resources available for all affected Pennsylvanians, especially those individuals who do not traditionally qualify for Unemployment Compensation. This program is unique in its scope and will prove to be a welcomed lifeline for many Pennsylvania families.”

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provides benefits ranging from $195 to $572 for up to 39 weeks to qualifying individuals who are unable to work due to COVID-19. Payments will be backdated to January 27 or the first week the individual was unable to work due to COVID-19.

Claims can be filed online at https://pua.benefits.uc.pa.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx.

Individuals collecting PUA benefits will also be eligible for the extra $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

To file a claim, individuals will need to provide proof of employment or self-employment, as well as information to show previous income. Acceptable documentation includes copies of recent paycheck stubs, bank receipts showing deposits, tax returns and 1099 tax forms, bill notices to customers, statements from recent customers, business licenses, contracts, invoices and building leases.

The new PUA system is separate from the regular Unemployment Compensation system. Claimants for PUA should only apply through the PUA Portal.

CONTACT: Matt Szuchyt- mszuchyt@pasen.gov