Are you a rideshare driver and wondering whether or not you qualify for unemployment? Fortunately, if you’re an Uber or Lyft driver or working with another driving or delivery service, and you’re an independent contractor – the answer is yes. You didn’t qualify before the CARES Act was enacted, but you do now.
The CARES Act (The Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) is a bill that has been passed by the government, which provides $2 trillion dollars in relief to help people affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic. It has given drivers who are independently contracted the chance to collect unemployment, to help them through this difficult time.
We know it’s a confusing time, so to help you out, we have put together this article to answer any of the questions you may have regarding your eligibility, Uber driver rights for unemployment benefit, and queries about how to collect unemployment. Let’s get into it.
Do You Qualify For Unemployment If You Are An Uber Or Lyft Driver?
In recent years, the struggle for Uber driver rights has been an uphill battle, to say the least. It’s easy to assume that as a self-employed Uber or Lyft driver, you will be entitled to no unemployment benefit. But fear not, the PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) benefits allow those who are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to the effects of COVID-19 to collect unemployment.
Before this ACT, many self-employed people found it difficult to collect unemployment, which includes Uber and Lyft drivers who are independently contracted. But now, in the current emergency situation, Uber and Lyft drivers can apply for a small slice of the $2 trillion dollars that’s been made available, up until the 31st December.
How Much Will You Get?
You may be wondering how much you can expect to receive from the available funding. Well, that can be a difficult question to answer because it is very dependent upon the state that you live in and your previous earnings.
Most state websites will provide a calculator for you to work out in advance how much you can expect to receive, which will require you to answer some questions about your financial situation.
People earning $75,000 and under have been able to claim for a $1,200 relief fund, as long as they filed their 2018 taxes. Couples applying together can receive $2,400 as long as their combined income is less than $150,000. People earning $75,000-$99,000 will receive a reduced amount, and those who earnt over $99,000 last year will not qualify for this payment. There is also an extra payment to support those who have children, with an extra $500 being given for each child.
Thanks to the PUA, gig workers, self-employed and contract workers will be able to collect unemployment benefits, which comes to a total of 39 weeks (41 for Montana, and 31 for North Carolina if you combine payments from the State, the PECU and the additional Extended Benefits).
These payments will be calculated using the State’s unemployment insurance WBA (weekly benefit amounts), so it will be different depending on your State. You may also qualify for an extra $600 dollars per week.
How To File For Unemployment As A Rideshare Driver?
Although Uber has stated that it will provide two weeks of sick pay to those who contract the virus, it is important to remember that this unemployment funding is being provided by the government, not the rideshare companies, like uber insurance which is not being provided by ridesharing companies.
When it comes to collecting unemployment as a rideshare driver, you must contact your State Unemployment Insurance Office. There is a useful table here, which helps you find the correct information for your Sate. If you follow the link in this table to your State’s website, you should be able to find the correct information on how to collect unemployment in your State.
Although each state has a different unemployment insurance program, they all follow the same federal law guidelines, so don’t worry, the CARES Act funding will be available in every state.
What Else Do You Need To Know About?
We hope that this article has answered most of your questions, and if you have any more specific queries, you should be able to find all the relevant information on your state’s own website. But before you go, here are some other things we think you should know about…
- In some states, you will need to apply twice. First, you will have to apply for normal Unemployment Benefits, which, if rejected, will allow you to apply for the PUA benefits.
- Remember that even if you are still working part-time as a driver, you may be able to get help to top up your wage, if your work has been affected by COVID-19
- For many, the increased unemployment benefits of $600 a weekend on the 31st of July. But, for many self-employed and gig workers, the eligibility has been expanded until the end of the year in some states. So it’s worth checking out if you can still claim.
- If the process of receiving your benefits is slow, keep in mind that the departments are dealing with a high volume of claims over this period and are therefore likely to take longer to process.
This funding is currently only available until the end of the year, so make sure to make the most of it while you can and if you haven’t already, get applying!