NC independent contractors, self-employed workers losing work during pandemic can soon apply for unemployment

Coronavirus
Visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus concerns, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in New York. Applications for jobless benefits are surging in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U.S. economy. The sharp increase comes as governments have ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus concerns, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in New York. Applications for jobless benefits are surging in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U.S. economy. The sharp increase comes as governments have ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Independent contractors and self-employed workers losing work due to the pandemic will soon be able to get unemployment assistance, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce Employment Security.

These workers, who would not typically be eligible to file for unemployment, can file as early as Friday.

The change comes thanks to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program aimed at helping people who are losing work but not eligible for regular state unemployment benefits.

People who have already applied and been denied may need to provide more information to applie for PUA. To do so, log into your online account and click on the ‘Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance’ link to complete the application process.

If your claim is in pending status, DES is still reviewing your eligibility for state unemployment benefits.

DES asks applicants to upload all necessary documents, like proof of income or proof of medical diagnosis, with the application before submitting so the claim can be processed more efficiently.

“This is a complex program, and we have been working hard to get it up and running,” said Lockhart Taylor, assistant secretary for the Division of Employment Security. “We want to get assistance out to people as quickly as possible, while also making sure we protect the integrity of the program by verifying that claimants meet the eligibility requirements for these benefits.”

The fastest and most efficient way to file a claim for unemployment is online at des.nc.gov. Anyone who needs help filing their PUA claim can call the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance line at (866) 847-7209.

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North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline: 1-866-462-3821

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