Normally, self-employed people and independent contractors would not be eligible for unemployment benefits
in Minnesota. But the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a new program to provide benefits specifically for these people.
This program, called
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
, provides weekly benefit payments to people who would not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits,
- Self-employed people
- Independent contractors
- Workers in non-covered employment
- People lacking sufficient work history to get regular UI
- People living in a household where the head of household has died as a direct result of COVID-19
PUA did not exist before the CARES Act became law
. It includes a complex system of new eligibility considerations and factors that our regular UI system never considered.
As of Friday, April 24, DEED has begun the process of making payments to people who are eligible for PUA
Here are a few things you should know
- If you have already applied for regular unemployment benefits, you do not need to do anything extra to qualify for PUA. DEED will automatically establish a PUA benefit account if you are eligible.
- If you have not applied for unemployment benefits yet, special instructions for self-employed and 1099 workers are available here. These instructions include steps you can take to make your account easily identifiable as potentially eligible for PUA.
- If you applied for unemployment benefits without following those instructions, don’t worry – you don’t need to change anything. Your account will still be reviewed for PUA eligibility.
- If you have not heard from DEED yet, don’t worry. We expect to be in touch with most people who are eligible for benefits under PUA by the end of April. There is no need to call or follow-up; you will hear from us proactively if we need additional information to determine eligibility.
- You will receive information about PUA benefits in your online account, by email, and by mail.
- Applicants who receive PUA benefits will also receive the $600/week additional payment.
- PUA benefits will be backdated to whenever you first became eligible due to COVID-19.