DOL to begin making unemployment payments to independent contractors this week

File photo Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development said it will begin the process of making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments this week to self-employed workers and independent contractors who may not be eligible for standard unemployment insurance benefits.

Such workers should begin receiving notification of their PUA eligibility Wednesday, the DOL said in a news release, with the payment process beginning Friday.

The program is part of the CARES Act, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, authorized by Congress earlier this year. Eligible workers include the self-employed, independent contractors and those who do not have enough recent earnings to receive regular unemployment benefits. Eligible workers who have applied for unemployment and been denied do not have to do anything further, the DOL said. The department will begin outreach Wednesday, followed by the processing of payments starting Friday.

“The department has worked hard over the past month to get this program up and running despite the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, and it is now available,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said in a prepared statement. “While it will take time to determine eligibility for everyone who seeks PUA benefits, the process has begun to get billions of additional dollars into the wallets of eligible self-employed workers.”

Claimants must certify for these benefits online each week, the DOL said. Click here for more.

Payments will be made retroactive to when claimants filed for them, the department added. PUA claims are processed separately from regular unemployment claims, and must be certified separately, the department noted.

The first group of claimants will be notified Wednesday of a certifying time slot Friday, and they should receive payment Tuesday. That payment will include a separate $600 supplemental payment as part of the CARES Act for each week of PUA eligibility since March 29.

Those who certify Friday, Saturday or Sunday will be paid Tuesday; those who certify Monday or later will be paid two business days after certification.

Asaro-Angelo took part in a webinar in which he answered many questions related to independent contractors and others. Click here for our story.

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