The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the publication of Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) 16-20 providing guidance to states for implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Under PUA, individuals who do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are unable to continue working as a result of COVID-19, such as self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers, are eligible for PUA benefits. This provision is contained in Section 2102 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act enacted on March 27, 2020.

PUA provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to qualifying individuals who are otherwise able to work and available for work within the meaning of applicable state law, except that they are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to COVID-19 related reasons, as defined in the CARES Act. Benefit payments under PUA are retroactive, for weeks of unemployment, partial employment, or inability to work due to COVID-19 reasons starting on or after January 27, 2020. The CARES Act specifies that PUA benefits cannot be paid for weeks of unemployment ending after December 31, 2020.

Eligibility for PUA includes those individuals not eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation (PEUC), including those who have exhausted all rights to such benefits. Covered individuals also include self-employed individuals, those seeking part-time employment, and individuals lacking sufficient work history. Depending on state law, covered individuals may also include clergy and those working for religious organizations who are not covered by regular unemployment compensation.

The UIPL also includes guidance to states about protecting unemployment insurance program integrity. The department is actively working with states to provide benefits only to those who qualify for such benefits.

For more information on UIPLs or previous guidance, please visit: https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/.

For department resources on COVID-19, please visit: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

The Employment and Training Administration administers federal job training and dislocated worker programs, federal grants to states for public employment service programs, and unemployment insurance benefits. These services are primarily provided through state and local workforce development systems.

The mission of the department is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

155 responses to “DOL Offers Guidance on Providing Unemployment to Self-Employed, Independent Contractors”

  1. John says:

    Unemployment now available to some not normally covered. Still have yet to get an answer about Sub S Corporate Officers, treated as officers and employees of their
    company, who paid into it. These individuals normally get rejected for owning debt or equity (5%) of their company or although may have an inactive company have not dissolved their corporation. Does the Cares act cover them?

    • john westenberger says:

      all you hearing about is the u/i ins program but trying to get your claim through is not easy! i am self employed one man plumbing & heating shop filed the claim in march just keeps coming back still pending! and they also say it will be denied the first time! does anybody know what happens after that? worked 4 days in a month! is anybody listening? so much for our speedy system, broken just like everything else in our fine state!

      • Bryan says:

        Yes my wife owns her own house cleaning biz and they told her yesterday that self employed does not count for unemployment. They are allowing you to file for a small loan only at this time

        • sb says:

          She has to file specifically for PUA not for UIC

          • Chloe says:

            When will PUA be available to sign up for? It’s still not up yet

          • Laurie says:

            Yes but they told us to file for UIC and not to do anything further after that. It’s so confusing and no one to talk to. I feel like we are just being left to ourselves while everyone else is being taken care of. It’s crazy.

          • Jay says:

            you cannot sign up for specifically PUA as far as I know. I signed up for the standard UI back in March 21st and it shows filed status with $0 amount. With my research it seems like it need to go through the standard application which will get denied in my case and than they will process it under the new Cares Act PUA. My current situation is short work history and last year I was a one person business owner so its a little complex but as you all might know there is no one to speak about the situation in person. I called over 40 times in all different times but cannot get through which is 99% of people it seems. Only hope I see is that they added a scheduled appt for May 26th(which is ridiculous) for monetary verification.

          • Jen says:

            There is no where un the ststrm to spply for it!

          • Wendy says:

            This is not true you must file for unemployment first and then wait for a denial

        • Karen says:

          I also own a cleaning business. Self employed is supposed to be covered for unemployment under PUA.. Depending on your state, you file a traditional claim which will be denied and show “0” on the form.
          When the state is set up for self employed you can then file. I got a text to file at “gov2go”. Another text said I would get instructions this week

          • Andy says:

            I am a subchapter S Corp. and my claim amount shows zero dollars. I was told to wait to get denied. I finally got in the mail a postcard saying I will have an UI interview because they have questions on my wages. The date of the interview was left blank as was the reason for the interview.
            Have you heard anything further?

      • Pat says:

        I am in the same category,
        My wife, son, and I, run a Plumbing and Heating shop. Just the 3 of us, as an LLC.
        Filed 3/25,
        I received my determinationline today, finally. DENIED !
        No reason or explanationTo appeal I have to wait for a Determinati-on Letter in Snail Mail !
        It will contain info I need to appeal !
        My wife and I have not had a dime of income in a month ! I have read horror stories about appealing to Unemployment in NJ !!!

        • J says:

          My wife and I are in the same position: we own a small pet care business, and have been shut down due to the Coronavirus. It is the sole source of income for our household. We both applied in March and finally saw online that our Claim Status is “Filed”, but our Weekly Benefit Rates are both “$0.00.” We should be eligible for the Emergency Unemployment Benefits associated with the CARES Act, but it seems that New Jersey DOL is still awaiting guidance from the federal government on implementation of that program. So, we just sit and wait with no income.

          We have also applied for the EIDL (Still no confirmation after nearly 3 weeks) and the PPP (no confirmation after 1.5 weeks).

          NJ’s small businesses are dying and the government has no answers. Really scary and sad.

          • Peachy says:

            Hi, I’m in the same exact sinking boat. I’m a hairstylist, I am the only working in my small salon, but I am an S corp. (advised by my accountant 20 years ago to do that. My claim also says “filed” and “0”
            we didn’t have any food so I had to work (with everyone wearing masks)an entire day just to get food, necessities and much-needed alcohol in the house. I don’t know what we are supposed to do?? Can’t go out….. if we go work for Walmart we will catch the corona and only make $11 an hour and only get 20 hours a week. Just seems like this little $1200 that I didn’t get yet won’t help my $1500 in rent and utilities at home not to mention running the salon……..

          • maryanne negrini says:

            hi, the same thing happened to me my calim finally came back after 2 weeks saying i recieve$0.00. but as i was doing research we are all independent, gig , workers or own our own small business so we are entitled to unemployment benefits through the pandemic unemployment assistance program that was passed in march. In order to recieve benefits through the PUA you had to file for regular unemployment and be denied. the problem is that i can not find a form to fill out how do we actually apply? anyone ?

          • Samantha says:

            This might help everyone, https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/assets/pdfs/UI_process_selfemployed.pdf

            In the same boat as all of you, currently waiting to get denied then apply again..

          • Cyrisse says:

            Where do I find the form to fill out for PUA after being denied unemployment?

          • Laurie says:

            Hi, We also are in the pet care business and have no business due to the corona virus. I got the exact message as you indicating that it had been filed now. I also got an email from the Department of Labor indicating that my unemployment claim has been processed and that the unemployment office would notify me when he Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is ready to be implemented. It said I did not have to do anything further but I don’t feel comfortable not doing anything and I can’t get through on the telephone. We haven’t gotten any payments since March 22 – this is so frustrating – I feel like they are forgetting about us

        • Laura says:

          It’s really stupid. You have to be denied and appeal before being considered for PUA. It’s the first step.

          • Lisa says:

            Where did you hear you have to appeal?

          • Karen says:

            I am self employed in Housecleaning. I read a news article last week that said ” if you were denied, Congratulations, you made it past the first step” Most of my customers halted their cleanings around March 16th. We are all frustrated.

      • Tom says:

        Mine is the same. Supposedly they are waiting for federal instructions. I see that PA and NY got there’s going today. So I’m looking now for anything new from NJ. Don’t see anything yet. 4/20/20

      • Laura says:

        I applied in March. Then I got denied. After almost a month I was told I could certify. Unfortunately I still haven’t been laid because I heard they are working out details. Just make sure to certify once you are allowed so that you receive back pay when they get this going.

      • John says:

        I am in the same situation self employed one man auto mechanic shop applied and was turned down , the site says i need to do no more and will be notified once they are setup to process the claims with the pui program , almost a month and still nothing , meanwhile I am supposed to come up with rent , MANDATORY health insurance premiums , and of course property taxes in another week . I have been working 42 years never on unemployment even for 1 day , spent 20 years working for someone before going out on my own , and now get nothing. My advice to everyone self employed now is to look out for YOURSELF FIRST , there seems to be no help from anyone in this state . HIGHEST property taxes in the nation and they always want more , WHAT A DISGRACE

      • Wendy says:

        I too am a self proprietor I haven’t gotten a damn thing… Is ridiculous..my business closed due to covid-19 2 months ago I haven’t received one bit of unemployment benefits or a denial letter and no one is telling us how to go forward with the cares act supposedly enacted by

    • Stacey says:

      It’s covered on their updated website, specifically here: https://myunemployment.nj.gov/before/about/who/corpbusiness.shtml

  2. all you hearing about is the u/i ins program but trying to get your claim through is not easy! i am self employed one man plumbing & heating shop filed the claim in march just keeps coming back still pending! and they also say it will be denied the first time! does anybody know what happens after that? worked 4 days in a month! is anybody listening? so much for our speedy system, broken just like everything else in our fine state!

    • jennifer luan says:

      I do not think the state has updated its claim form yet. the current one is only for the employee information, instead of self employed or independent contractor’s info. I am self employed and would wait till the right claim form comes out. Maybe SBA can help us by writing to the state to update it.

    • jennifer luan says:

      I do not think the state has updated its claim form yet. the current one is only for the employee information, instead of self employed or independent contractor’s info. I am self employed and would wait till the right claim form comes out. Maybe NJBIA can help us by writing to the state to update it.

      • Kate says:

        Put self employed as employer. Move forward and lack of work from COVID 19. Apply for UI and get denied. Then an email will say your info is moving forward to PUA. That’s as far as I am.

    • Diann says:

      If you’ve already been denied, then just go in and start a new claim. Most of your info will already be filled in. Very important!!!! Read the guide on the answers you’re supposed to check. If you check any one of them wrong. After I reapplied, I waited until it was my time to claim according to my SS#, and I’m officially claimed but with a $0 balance. Once they figure out how to check our income we’ll be paid retroactively. So important, read the answer guide first!!!

      • KV says:

        How could you start a new claim? Did you do with your old account or you created a new account? My UI benefit is $0, I could neither file a new claim nor create an new account for a new claim. thank you

      • Van says:

        How did you start a new claim after being denied because I coudnt. Thank you

  3. Dale Roller says:

    Last week a Official on T.V. said the site for self employed should be up this week. I am checking for myself today.

  4. judy says:

    After much due diligence we cannot find out how to apply for PUA ANYWHERE. applied for unemployment, was denied and now what? Please guide us to how to apply for PUA. Are there additional steps? Ready and waiting and getting so very frustrated.

    • Chris says:

      Once you’ve been denied regular unemployment go back to the unemployment site. Login and in unemployment services look for the “forms” area click on that and you should see a form listed PUA application. Click there and fill out, submit.
      I was searching as well for a long time and finally stumbled on it.
      Good luck!

      • Vince says:

        thanks for the info, but can you be a bit more specific. An hour in and i dont see any forms like the one you mention.

        thanks

        • Pat says:

          I am in the same category,
          My wife, son, and I, run a Plumbing and Heating shop. Just the 3 of us, as an LLC.
          Filed 3/25,
          I received my determinationline today, finally. DENIED !
          No reason or explanationTo appeal I have to wait for a Determinati-on Letter in Snail Mail !
          It will contain info I need to appeal !
          My wife and I have not had a dime of income in a month ! I have read horror stories about appealing to Unemployment in NJ !!!

        • P says:

          The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development (NJDOL) is awaiting federal guidance on determining eligibility for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and anticipates that guidance arriving soon. Meanwhile, these workers should apply for unemployment insurance. The application likely will be denied, but that initial denial is a necessary step toward being able to collect the COVID-related benefit. Next, these workers should gather their past two years of tax returns, which will become necessary for their claim to be processed once federal rules are established.
          Additionally, the $600 supplemental unemployment insurance for all recipients is expected to arrive beginning next week. It will be issued separately from regular unemployment benefits.
          For more information, visit the New Jersey’s Department of Labor FAQ resource guide.

      • Zach says:

        I logged into my unemployment site, but there is NO “unemployment services” tab or option. Are you sure we’re talking about New Jersey Unemployment site here? Couldn’t find PUA anywhere

      • Carol Lee says:

        I am not seeing a PUA form or application. Even when i type PUA in the search bar there is nothing. Please help

      • Bryan says:

        Yes my wife owns her own house cleaning biz and they told her yesterday that self employed does not count for unemployment. They are allowing you to file for a small loan only at this time

      • Joe says:

        I can’t find what you’re talking about.
        Can you PLEASE post a direct link.

    • maryann says:

      Judy i am in the same spot as you are, filed and denied.PUA is the act that was added for us independents.However their is no actual form to fill out , i looked everywhere. I read in a few different sites that the fed gov does not have it in place yet they are awaiting direction themselves.

      • Samantha says:

        Your comment is awaiting moderation.

        This might help everyone, https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/assets/pdfs/UI_process_selfemployed.pdf

        In the same boat as all of you, currently waiting to get denied then apply again..

      • Sharon says:

        I am in the same place. I was denied this morning, and the eMail that came along seemed to imply that I don’t need to do anything? How can that be? Do I need to submit a new application? I have been googling for hours and feel like I am getting no where.

        • Lisa Bailey says:

          Does it say the word denied?

        • Mark says:

          If you have already filed for regular Unemployment and have been denied (As I have) you do not have to reapply for PUA. Your claim will be assessed for PUA approval. (This is NJ guidance) I assume it is the same everywhere. I received an email that read ‘ At this time, you do not have to do anything further. The Division of Unemployment Insurance will notify you when PUA is ready to be implemented.’ (That email was on April 15th and I have not heard anything further as of 4/22/20).

    • Diann says:

      It’s a light blue box on the home page. READ THE GUIDE ON ANSWERS FIRST! If you answer one wrong, you’re back to square one.

    • Irena Percia says:

      Me too

  5. Shelley Gear says:

    My benefits exhausted 3/21/2020, I have been trying to get information about PUA BENEFITS IN NJ and I am getting NOTHING!!! I NEED TO KNOW WHAT TO DO, I TRIED OPENING A NEW VLAIM AND IT WOULD NOT ALLOW ME TO!!!! WHAT DO I DO

    • Rach says:

      Hi. I’m in the exact same boat as you, UE benefits exhausted on 3/21/21. Please let me know if you get any further info, I will do the same.
      Thanks

      • Jim says:

        I AM IN SAME SHOES. MY UE BENEFITS EXHAUSTED APRIL 5 AND APPARENTLY WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR A NOTIFICATION FROM THE NJDOL BEFORE WE CERTIFY FOR BENEFITS. MY CLAIM BALANCE STILL SAYS 0, AND WHEN I TRIED TO CERTIFY THE PAST FEW WEEKS, IT SAYS CLAIM NOT PAYABLE. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP. I NEED THE 13 WEEK EXTENSION TO BE IMPLEMENTED NOW!!

  6. Joanne says:

    Can you please direct us to the site to apply for self employed I applied already but it says pending for over one week I assume it is because they don’t have the guidelines? When are they getting the guidelines? Will we be denied and then have to file again?

  7. Carol Lee says:

    I am not seeing a PUA form or application. Even when i type PUA in the search bar there is nothing. Please help

  8. George says:

    When can self employed workers who have already been denied unemployment by the state of New Jersey dept of labor be able to apply for the pandemic unemployment benefits president trump signed off on March 27th, 2020. The US department of labor issued guidelines on how states should issue benefits on April 5th 2020. All I am asking for is a date. Thank you for you prompt reply.

    • Lia says:

      When you’re denied, does the site say “denied”? Mine says “filed” but with $0 in weekly benefits. I’m self-employed and trying to figure out what this means. Thanks.

      • Pat says:

        If you go to “check claim status”, it will bring up a page where you enter SS#, Birthdate, and name,
        twice.
        On the bottom will be the determination, in the amount of weekly benefits. If the numbers are all 0’s, you were denied. As I was, a self employed contractor. My wife and I have not had a dime of income in a month !
        Have to wait to receive through Snail Mail, a written determination letter with info needed on the appeal form.
        Why can’t they give the info where it states the amount of benefits ?

        • Berto says:

          Apparently, self employed are suppose to come up denied but this is part of the process. Go figure. We are waiting for the fed to release the process to the unemployment offices, since they have never had to do this before.

      • Faith says:

        I own my own salon and I filed on 3/23 it said pending until this past Friday. Then it said file with $0. I tried to certify my claim today anyway and it said it could not be processed and to please call the freehold office. So frustrating!

        • J says:

          Same situation for us (husband/wife owned pet care business). Today was the first day I could attempt to certify, and I got the same message to call an office. I was just playing around the NJ DOL site, trying to find somewhere to apply for the PUC (Pandemic Unemployment Compensation), which self-employed folks are eligible for. Eventually, a pop-up message appeared regarding the PUC. This is the relevant portion for us:

          “Freelancers, gig workers, independent contractors: While we wait for federal guidelines, we encourage you to apply for unemployment now. Your claim will likely be denied, but your ineligibility for regular unemployment is a prerequisite for receiving benefits due to COVID-19. Additional details will be posted online as they become available.”

          I read elsewhere, that “Self-Employed” folks fall into that category as well. None of this helps us in this moment, but it seems like at some point, we will receive the $600/week retroactive to when we applied.

      • Carolina Rodriguez says:

        Me too thats exactly my question

      • William Westermann says:

        Same situation I just applied for a second time for pua I hope.

        It means you were denied when it has 0.

        • Lisa says:

          They said that’s the process. You have to be denied u employment first before you can get approved for Pua

    • Mario says:

      Self employed for the past 6 years.
      When I filled out the benefit form they asked ( latest employment non self employed ) so I filled out I finished in 2014 ) when I went to certify it says I can’t collect for 2014 but what about my last 6 years as self employed which was filled out on the form ?
      Then I check status and it says pending ?
      This is so confusing and I don’t see any help on the way.
      Very frustrating and not what the Pesident said , he said to help us .
      Ugh

    • R.H. says:

      Helpful information here:

      https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/get-assistance/am-i-eligible-for-any-unemployment-benefits-if-my-work-has-been-negatively-impacted-by-covid-19

      “Applicants will be assessed first for traditional unemployment insurance benefits. If traditional unemployment benefits are not applicable to that worker, the application may be denied first and then assessed by NJ Department of Labor for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.”

  9. Lia says:

    When you’re denied, does the site say “denied”? Mine says “filed” but with $0 in weekly benefits. I’m self-employed and trying to figure out what this means. Thanks.

    • Josh says:

      I’m in the same boat.
      Just checked reads “filed” but 0 in the weekly benefits area.
      If you get any news or updates as to proceeding, please post and update those like you in the same predicament.
      Thanks!

    • Ali says:

      Lia- Mine looks the same way. I filed back on March 22. The $0 just showed as of Friday April 10. No letter yet telling me anything. Wish the website was more clear. With no access to someone to speak with over the phone, these questions should be listed somewhere on the website.

    • Eden says:

      Same here “filed” but $0 ben. I am assuming it is taking them awhile to process. Jumping on this thread to stay informed and I will post any information I find on the way that may be helpful.

      • Catherine Mitschele says:

        I filed and got an “adjudication” response which I filled out and returned. It generally just wanted me to clarify what I did which is a rideshare driver. All 1099 or gig workers are supposed to be covered. But Murphy is too busy giving money to immigrants to worry about us.

        I have a hunch that if you certify for your benefits, it may goose the system. If you missed your date, you can certify tomorrow (Wed., Apr. 15th). Here’s the link:
        https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/schedule.shtml

      • Candyce says:

        Yes, same here. I filed at the end of March. At first it said “pending“ now it says “filed” but $0. I tried to certify for my weekly and it says “your claim is not payable at this time” and that I have to call the office but I can’t get through to anyone because they’re too busy so the recorded announcement told me to call back the next day…same thing it told me yesterday. There seems to be no place to sort this out…going in circles.

  10. Gloria Hansen says:

    Also self-employed for well over a decade. I cannot locate the right form on the website. Can anyone provide a working link to the correct form? Thank you.

  11. James Chiarello says:

    This is very confusing. I’m a Real Estate Agent, doesn’t seem like they make 1099, gig workers, contractors a priority.

    REALTOR.COM tells us that April 10th is when the Fed. is releasing guidelines for Unemployment or PPP for 1099 workers like myself.

    A handful of websites say that the prerequisite is: to file for normal unemployment and get denied. Then you can file as a 1099, contractor, agent, gig worker, etc.

    There is limited guidance for this issue. I’ve done hours of reading.

    I would also suggest applying for EDIL via SBA.

    If anyone has information, or would like to discuss to help each other out, email me at jameschiarello@gmail.com

    Stay well ,
    James

  12. Pat says:

    I am self employed, and filed 3/25, received my online determination today, DENIED !
    Have to file an appeal. Which likely means, this will all be over with by the time the appeal is even looked at !

  13. Jay says:

    If youre still getting paid by the company but nit currently working, are you still eligible for the PUA?

  14. Rokyah says:

    Hi everyone,
    After some research and talking to the banks this am. Here is what I found out. I am self-employed salon worker (1099) and I am on the same boat. No income for a month.
    When I first applied, I was denied. It is the way the system is set-up. I applied for an appeal. It is just a process that needs to happen in the system. As of today, I finally saw an “update” and says it’s been filed with 0 amount. (Filed March 30, right after the bill passed) The reason being is they do not know what to pay us. They would have to base it on filed tax returns. The state is waiting on Federal guidelines on how to pay people that usually do not qualify for State Unemployment because really that funding is not coming from the state, it’s federal.

    I hope they will at least provide the 600 a week until they figure it out. But, I feel as long as it shows filed, you’re in the system. You should be ok. It really is a waiting game and we can do but so much.

    As far as the independent contractor sba loans available, I would not wait on that. It’s first come first serve and no the form is not designed for self-employed/independent contractors. Filled it out anyway.

    – If you have a business bank account, the Paycheck Protection Program LOAN, is available at banks that have been approved to process them. So, anyone self-employed or have a handful of employees is eligible to get financial help.
    -the PUA is through NJ State Dept of Labor, that’s the one we’re all being denied, appealing, and waiting for. So, if anyone has applied, just appeal and wait for that status to say filed. I take it as a good sign. Just have 2 years of taxes ready.
    -the SBA disaster loan is the other loan we can apply for with $10,000 forgiveness. You can apply for more than $10k but, again working out the kinks and processing the number of applications is overwhelming the system.

    The article below is the most recent one I found explaining most of our concerns:

    https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/04/gig-workers-freelancers-and-self-employed-are-still-waiting-for-unemployment-answers-whats-the-holdup.html

  15. Hector says:

    Independent Contractor here.
    Applied 3/28/20.
    Today claim status reads “filed” but 0 weekly benefits ECT same as others here.
    Can’t get through any numbers for answers either.
    Does anyone know how to proceed and find out when individuals like myself will get temporary financial relief from this money that has been approved for those that are independents, self employed, and gig workers?
    Thanks in advance to all that respond.

    • Paul says:

      I am on the same boat. They seem to be delaying the process. They are not giving any clear directions on what to expect and how to proceed. Majority of NY applicants have already started to receive the benefits. I’ve looked at NY info, and they are VERY clear about everything. Everything is just so ambiguous.

      • Ali says:

        It’s allowing me to Apply for the benefits this week. I’m very confused as to why it allows us to apply but has a $0. Has anyone received a letter yet?

        • Dennis says:

          Nothing yet.
          Worse part is spending hours calling different numbers for answers, being directed to different promps, holding, then disconnects.
          Waste of time.
          The government allocated monies for independent contactors and we have no clue or help as to getting it.

        • Zak says:

          There is no letter only showing $0 in benefits

          • Ali says:

            They “say” we will get a letter in the mail stating denied or approved with how much. From there we can appeal it. Not sure what exactly it will say regarding independent contractors. But we are supposed to be taken care of.

    • Terrie says:

      C Corp. Just one payroll. Owner. Can I collect unemployment? In NJ

  16. Larry says:

    With thousands of people out of work because the State of New Jersey closed everything down how does the State of New Jersey expect a self employed individual to eat.
    The federal government , through the bill just signed, gave self employed individuals the chance to claim unemployment benefits.
    The State of New Jersey is again dragging their feet on this because it is impossible for a self employed individual to sign up in the State of New Jersey. My guess is that they are asking us to put false information on the application.
    I want to know how a self employed person can get through the application. The application wants the EIN of the employer. As a self employer individual I do not have an employer. Do they want me to make up a number?

    • Ali says:

      Larry- I have an LLC and pay sales taxes on the NJ Website using my EIN number. If you file for your taxes you will have one in your documents. If not, that may be a problem collecting unemployment for your business.

      • Catherine Mitschele says:

        Unless you’re acting as a DBA. If you file your taxes for the business separately from your own, use that one. Otherwise use your personal number.

    • Victoria says:

      Husband and I are an LLC our employees are collecting and we were denied which was no surprise….but now what? Has Murphy mentioned any time frame on helping us small business owners?

    • Pat says:

      Larry,
      Being self employed, you should be registered with the state as a business owner. When registering for a business, you must either use your Social Security number, or they will issue you an FEIN (EIN)
      (Federal Employer Identification Number)
      Then you must file an Application for Registration (Form CIS-1) with NJ Division of Taxation, even if you don’t believe you will be collecting, or withholding taxes. There is no fee for registering. They will issue a 9 digit number, which will correspond to your FEIN or SS number.
      Then, and only then are you a legal entity in the sate of NJ.
      Otherwise you are not what is considered, Self Employed or a Independent Contractor.

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    =). We may have a hyperlink trade agreement among us

  18. Zak says:

    I am self employed in my LLC company sen request for unemployment got answer $0
    No denial letter
    It is strange I am on payroll and pay UI SS and Medicare from each check also from my company too but return is $0 any body got update please send me

  19. Jack says:

    Hi There

    If you’re self employed and waiting for your unemployment claim to be denied so you can apply for PUA. Do you still need to check in for your weekly benefits? I filed my claim on March 22nd and have not done the weekly claim. Does that mean I loose out on the last four weeks of benefits? Any help would be greatly appreciated

  20. maryanne says:

    its not on the unemployment site google separately

  21. Matt says:

    I have the same issue. Self-employed and filed end of March, was pending until last week when it went to filed and $0 payment. I assume this means it is denied and I have to appeal. There’s no info on the next steps to take, though there are downloadable forms on the site now that give info about filing for PUC. It seems like it is just the same process of filing unemployment though they show exactly what info to fill out on the form. Not sure if I should try reapplying again or wait longer to appeal. It seems like we will have to submit recent tax returns or any payment info we have but again no information on how to do that. If anyone learns anything new let me know and I’ll do the same!

    • Michael J Dworkin says:

      Like a lot of people here I’m in the same boat and I was wondering too if we should file again with their step by step guide for PUA. It seems like the same exact form that was originally used to apply for benefits so I’m confused as to what our next step should be.

  22. Ali says:

    Hi Everyone! There is new information in the “Status Claimed” section. Finally! They need to know our wages and will be sending us an email.

    • KL says:

      Now that there is guidance for how to fill out the application for self employed (PDF on DOL site) I see I answered some of the employer questions wrong. How can I correct this? I can’t reopen my claim. I also was given a $0 payment once it was processed.

    • Lisa says:

      Did you receive a Nj debit card in the mail from unemployment

      • Ann says:

        Yes I also received a NJ debit card with a $0 balance. Once Im approved the balance should appear on the card, I’m hoping….

  23. Karen says:

    I also applied for unemployment as a self employed business owner in Early April. I completed the application to the best of my ability due to the lack of guidance from the DOL. Now that there is guidance on the DOL site I see that I answered some of the questions wrong on the “employer page”. I don’t know what to do? I can’t reopen my application to correct the errors on my existing application because I don’t have a pin. I can’t get a pin because I was not allowed to certify today (even though the amount allowed was $0). Do I submit a new application? Do I wait for guidance from DOL as to what to do to apply for PUA? I am so frustrated.

  24. G Reichert says:

    It is extremely irresponsible for the governor to unilaterally and mandatorily close many thousands of small businesses in this state and not already have in place a manner of process and procedure by which all the people affected by his decisions will be dealt with fairly and quickly. It is easy to be a wealthy man like our governor and dictate what everyone will do because he says so. I ask how are self employed people( who are supposed to be the “backbone of this great nation” and many other nice sounding statements like that) survive? And exactly how long does he think people are going to just continue to stand around, “hunkering down” whatever the hell that means, broke, wearing masks and gloves, waiting indefinitely for him to say ” ok…now.” I imagine not much longer. Especially if the federal/ state apparatus continues to fail to provide the funding that has been promised and without it will make even basic living largely impossible.

  25. G. Reichert says:

    People are extremely frustrated with an imposed unemployment. It is the self employed that do not expect to be so due to the nature that we work for ourselves. It must be the most profound and carefully thought out decision to close businesses indefinitely. I do not believe that this type of thoughtful and scholarly research was done when these decisions to close were made. At barely a 1% mortality rate and a mortality rate that as of yet has not even reached the influenza mortality rate of the 2018 -2019 flu season (Oct.1 2018- May 1, 2019) how does anyone justify the draconian measures undertaken and the total destruction of our regional and national economies? I am sorry, I disagree in the strongest possible terms of the way this has been handled almost completely. How long does our governor think this is a viable way of living? This is for me, a totally untenable position to be in and impossible to maintain much longer.

  26. Ali says:

    I just received an email that says I filed. And not to do anything further because they are still waiting to approve the PUA/Cares act? Anyone else? When will this go into effect?

  27. Karen says:

    I got an email today saying “If you are an independent contractor, freelancer, gig worker or self employed who was determined ineligible for regular unemployment insurance the weekly benefit rate on your claim status will read $0. and you may be eligible for other recently created federal benefits such as PUA. At this time you do not have to do anything further. The division of unemployment insurance will notify you when PUA is ready to be implemented.”

    In an automated response to an email I sent to DOL today it said “The first requirement of PUA is to be determined ineligible and denied regular unemployment benefits. Do not worry about receiving this initial denial for unemployment benefits. You may still be eligible for benefits under PUA. If you afre self employed or an independent contractor and your claim has been denied for regular unemployment insurance, your claim will then be reviewed for PUA eligibility. Additional information pertaining to your request for unemployment assistance may be required of you…Please check your email regularly for more information on what may be required for PuA and determining your eligibility for benefits”.

  28. Mario says:

    Ok , got the email and checked guidance
    Of course to late because they said to file if you were self employed and affected by Covid.
    The one question I goofed on was are you related to the owner . I said yes when now I see you were suppose to say no , ugh.
    Then to complete and move on I had to answer how am I related .
    Choices were grandparent, child or spouse . I answered spouse .
    Can’t change it now , hope this doesn’t goof me up .
    Ugh
    They should have stated don’t file until guideline is implemented but of cours the bureaucracy runs the show . Assbackwards
    Again Ugh

  29. Jeff says:

    I am filing my F1040 as husband/wife sole proprietorship and know I am qualified for an unemployment benefit through PUA program. I am wondering if both spouses are eligible to apply for the benefits. is there anyone who fits my case and knows the right answer?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  30. Bill says:

    Same issue here, small plumbing shopped shut down, the way I read the guide on the dol site it states that you have to apply online even though the system will deny you. Then you get an electronic notification stating your claim has been updated only to find out you are not eligible for any funds. BUT then in the documentation it states … Please visit our website — nj.gov/labor — for more information on how to qualify for federal benefits under the CARES Act. At this time, you do not have to do anything further. The Division of Unemployment Insurance will notify you when PUA is ready to be implemented. We are working with other states and the federal government to implement this new benefit program as fast as possible for the residents of New Jersey.
    Have no clue what this means or if its just political speak for WE RAN OUT OF MONEY

    • Sharon says:

      Same answer I received, and I too answered some of the initial PUA questions wrong and like everyone else, I can’t go back and ammend anything. Do we wait for more information or file another claim?

      • Mario says:

        Yea I’m waiting to see if they contact me before I go and file again.

      • R.H. says:

        Filed with NJ as self-employment on 3-29-20, received denial letter a few days later, and just received another letter in the mail stating to claim this week. Be patient, they’re getting to everyone’s claims.

        • carolmac says:

          were you able to make a claim and if so, did you get it thru the PUA?

          • R.H. says:

            I wasn’t able to file like the letter stated. I’m thinking/hoping they’re setting everyone up for when the benefits become available.

  31. David Fisher says:

    As a remodeling contractor with over 30 years of experience and on my own as an LLC for the past 13 years, I am just as perplexed as the rest of you. Got the same email as others stating “ineligible for regular unemployment insurance (the Weekly Benefit Rate on your claim status will read $0), you may be eligible for other recently created federal benefits, such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).” There is nothing, not a form nothing at this point in time. Just this next statement in the email “At this time, you do not have to do anything further. The Division of Unemployment Insurance will notify you when PUA is ready to be implemented. We are working with other states and the federal government to implement this new benefit program as fast as possible for the residents of New Jersey.”
    All of you, like I, are sitting and waiting, trying to to trust our government, but we are used to getting things done sooner than later, because that is how we get paid – when the job is done.
    That said, Fed Gov stimulus checks are going out presently. The fastest way to get that money is to be sure tax returns for 2018 and 2019 are filed. If you had a refund and your bank account has not changed, it should be coming soon. If you owed, then register your account information at the IRS portal accordingly. Otherwise, the IRS will be mailing checks accordingly and also be sending a follow up letter 15 days later to make sure it was not stolen.
    One other thing, as I read through all of the posts, I know it’s hard to be patient with those we have elected. They are there and although I don’t agree with everything they do, I firmly believe in praying for them. I will be praying for all of you as well. I hope this post is a help to many of you too.

    • David Fisher says:

      An additional comment to my post above. At the top of the page, there is this: “Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) 16-20”. The 16-20 is highlighted in blue which then takes you to a page to look at the PDF of what the guidelines are for the state to use for criteria to determine eligibility. The state must be working on building the website to make this work accordingly. Hence, our impatience in our “getting things done” to get paid as they have had this information now for 2 weeks. At least we know they have something to work with and are not waiting on the Federal Government.

    • Lee says:

      I believe residential contractors are still allowed to work. My families company is running a bunch of jobs. Not sure if you knew that because some of the rules are confusing

  32. NJRoadie says:

    NJ.com has a relevant article on their site dated 4/20. The spokesperson for the NJ Dept. of Labor said nobody has been paid the expanded unemployment benefits as of now, and reiterated that being denied is the first step in the process.

    Here is a link and quote:

    https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/04/still-waiting-for-unemployment-heres-why-it-could-take-weeks-labor-says.html

    Why are some benefits taking longer?

    Independent contractors, freelancers, self-employed have not contributed to the unemployment system. Normally they would be ineligible for benefits.

    But because of the coronavirus pandemic, they may be eligible for federal benefits.

    These are separate and different from regular unemployment benefits and are funded by the federal government.

    Delli-Santi said no one in New Jersey has received the expanded federal benefits yet.

    “The states are working with the federal government to set the parameters for the program. That should happen soon,” she said.

    She said these workers should start by applying for unemployment. The claim will most likely be deemed ineligible, but that’s okay. The denial for traditional benefits is a prerequisite for the special pandemic benefits.

    The amount they receive will be based on their income, she said.

  33. Ali says:

    Am I the only one who did not get a letter? Just an e-mail? I have no follow-up or information to appeal? Just to wait.

    • Mario says:

      Yea , I applied early March 29th and only received the email.
      No physical notice in the mail as of yet . So I’m still hopeful and waiting .

      • Ali says:

        So what happens when the world opens up and our businesses are still affected? Because people are afraid to get close to each other. :-/.

      • Chris says:

        I applied on 4/7 and got $0 , on WBR and Status FILED , coudn’t certify weekly, nothing. Today 4/23 received those printed out letter saying denied. Supposedly nothing further to do , no separate applying for PUA to get PUA. Very frustrating.

    • Robin says:

      I worked for a non-profit. I am covered under PUA. I received an email with the $0 information and told to do nothing. Today, I received a DENIAL for lack of base year work weeks and instructed and appeal information. Of couse I worked during the base year, but it wasn’t reported to UE, just like a gig worker, etc. I filed the appeal.

      • Ali says:

        I thought it was about the tax year 2019? I’m a photographer and my busy season is March through November.

  34. KEVIN says:

    I am self employed and was denied unemployment compensation, but I assume I will be getting PUA payments , since I received a Bank of America debit card in the mail today from state unemployment,,, but unfortunately it has a balance of ZERO DOLLARS,,,,

  35. Dan says:

    If you live in NJ and worked in NYS, you would normally file for unemployment benefits in NYS. Does the same hold true for PUA benefits or if you were turned down for unemployment benefits in NYS, would you then file for PUA benefits in NJ?

  36. Alfonse says:

    Got a Bank of America Debit card from State of NJ yesterday,but I applied for direct deposit,also have a $0 benefit on claim status ,$0 on the card balance

    • NJRoadie says:

      Same here; they sent me a card when I was denied for benefits and asked for direct deposit.

      Hopefully it is a sign they are trying to get something ready.

    • Njperson says:

      HI WHEN YOU APPLIED? I applied on 4/3. Still no card.

  37. Eszter says:

    Just a question.. i have my young kids- 10-12. I’m the head of the household- living alone with them. I’m self employed in the last 6 years I’ve tax return everything year – but my income is very low 20-25 000. I worked as babysitter – house keeper and driver for a family. Now I’ve no any income and I do net get anything- I got denied as unemployment status . What can I do? How to buy food and pay the bills?

    • Alfonse says:

      File an appeal,they said you’re eligible for the PUA and being denied is part of the process,they move very slowly

      • Mario says:

        ” Slowly ”
        Blahahahahahaha
        You sure you don’t mean
        ” The slowest speed is of course zero.”
        Maybe they progress on a quantum level

  38. Al says:

    Has anyone who got a BOA card ever had money on it? Has anyone received a card and still been denied after? My biggest concern is waiting the 5 weeks and then finally being denied anyway.

    • April says:

      Yes, both my son and I received BOA debit cards two weeks after filing on 3/15 even though we both opted for direct deposit when we applied for UI. We were both denied UI this week. Hoping to get PUA eventually but Murphy never addresses it! I haven’t had a paycheck in 6 weeks.

  39. Mark says:

    The last line of this link dated April 21st says “It is unclear at this point, whether Gov. Murphy will sign this bill, as some of the concerns to be addressed by this legislation have been covered by other, recently enacted legislation”. I hope that doesn’t mean that there is a question as to whether PUA will be available in NJ.
    https://www.ballardspahr.com/alertspublications/legalalerts/2020-04-21-new-jersey-unemployment-compensation-update?fbclid=IwAR2p32KtEI1hfCb5D7dfzzW3bo705BYacnUsZ9ngvGi72yfXp8iNLRGqgVE

    • Mario says:

      Yea , still waiting self employed hearing nothing .
      Great
      And I don’t get ” It’s unclear weather Murphy will sign this bill”
      The PUA is a federal program which is suppose to include the self employed . He has nothing to do with that except when the state gets the money to distribute it to us.
      Trump did say in the beginning when he signed the Bill he wanted the federal gov to handle it not the states .
      I think he was correct . The states don’t know what they’re doing or unprepared to fulfill the PUA asssited unemployment benefits to the self employed .
      Bureaucracy at its finest hour.
      Everything’s Assbackwards

  40. George P says:

    I’m a small time remodeling contractor and like most in my field we qualify for nothing. If we don’t end up being able to collect under the PUA that is pretty much it for us. What is infuriating is the lack of guidance. Meanwhile multi million dollar grants are being given to very large and vert profitable “small” businesses. People who are still working get stimulus checks. Like always the blue collar type small businesses get nothing.

    People thought it would be cool to elect someone who thinks you can drink bleach and cure a virus. Well that same person runs the federal administration that is responsible for administering the PUA among many other things. So if you want to get mad at someone, start there. Everything the president said about the SBA programs, the PPP, the economic disaster grants, its all been a sham. Actual small businesses are getting nothing and if they end up getting something it is a 10th of what they thought they would get.

    I pray for all of us 1 or 2 man self employed workers. The PUA is all we have left and it is looking really sketchy.

    • Irina P says:

      My understanding is that President did extend stimulus package to cover self-employed, but it is now up to the Governor Murphy to sign the bill so self-employed may collect PUA benefits.

  41. NJRoadie says:

    NJ.com had another article today about unemployment benefits. To summarize, the state claims they are still waiting for federal guidance before processing PUA claims. Here is a link:

    https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/04/nj-labor-dept-gives-more-guidance-on-unemployment-but-tells-gig-workers-you-still-gotta-wait.html

    • Mario says:

      I don’t buy this ” waiting for guidance ” excuse
      17 states have already begun giving benefits to the self employed
      What does NJ need ” special ” guidance ?
      Come on Murphy , we need help !!

  42. Mario says:

    Nothing yet for me .
    Anybody ?
    This has become beyond ridiculous

  43. Ali says:

    Has anyone actually applied for the PUA? I was told to wait. But looks like some are applying.

  44. Mario says:

    We were supposed to be notified today ?
    I wasn’t , anybody notified as what to do ?

    • JEAN MARGIOTTA says:

      Anything yet? I’m still waiting also. I keep checking here because trying to reach unemployment is ridiculous.

  45. Mario says:

    Well I received snail mail today from DOL. mailed 4-15 and just received today 5-1 yes snail mail . Any way it says I could claim my benifits as of 4-15 no amounts no instructions. When I try to claim it will not allow me to do so . And my online benifits still say $0
    Isn’t this Great

    • Gigi says:

      Same here. I received a snail mail today from The NJDOL. I applied 4-12. It apparently was mailed 4-23 and I just received today 5-4. The letter says I could claim my benefits( still says $0 ) based on the schedule provided on the myunemployment.nj.gov site. When I try to claim it will not allow me to do so. Very frustrating!

  46. paul says:

    Samething with me they send piece of mail last week it stated to file claim without any benefit amount number, i tried submit answer at the end four different county office phone number pop up and they never answer my phone call iam so frustrated for that.

    No idea what we have to do for ( pua ) in current pandemic situation?