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Self-Employed and Independent Contractors

If you are an independent contractor or are self-employed, you may be eligible for assistance due to COVID-19.  Here’s what you need to know about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

Note: As of Thursday, April 16th, the PPP and EIDL are no longer accepting applications due to a lack of funding. If/when Congress replenishes funding this guide will be updated. The North Country Chamber of Commerce is in regular contact with our federal representatives and we are advocating for the additional funding needed for both the PPP and EIDL.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Independent contractors and self-employed individuals are normally not eligible for unemployment compensation. However, under the CARES Act, such individuals can receive benefits under the PUA program.

  • Eligibility: You can check your eligibility here.
  • How to Apply: If you believe you are eligible, you can apply online here.  

Note: You cannot apply for PUA until you have been deemed ineligible for traditional unemployment insurance benefits. You must first apply for, and be denied, traditional UI before you apply for PUA.

Paycheck Protection Program: The PPP is a forgivable loan that can be used to help you, as an independent contractor or self-employed individual, replace your compensation (i.e. pay yourself due to lost income), pay mortgage interest, make business rent payments, and more.

  • Eligibility: You are eligible if all of the following are true:
    • You were in operation on February 15, 2020
    • Your primary place of residence is the United States
    • You filed, or will file, a Form 1040 Schedule C for 2019 showing self-employment income.
  • How to Apply: You will apply through your local financial institution – bank or federal credit union. We encourage you to contact them to determine if they are participating in the PPP and to see if they can contact you if/when the program reopens for applications.
    • No more than 25% of the loan can be forgiven for non-compensation related uses.
    • To spend the loan funds on non-compensation related items - mortgage interest, rent, or utilities – you must have claimed a deduction for them on your 2019 taxes.

Note: Accepting a PPP loan may affect your ability to receive unemployment compensation under the PUA.

Note: If you are a partner in a partnership, you may not submit a separate PPP loan application for yourself as a self-employed individual. Instead, the self-employment income of general active partners may be reported as a payroll cost, up to $100,000 annualized, on a PPP loan application filed by or on behalf of the partnership.

More information including what forms you need to apply, how you can spend the funds, and how to obtain loan forgiveness can be found here.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan: The SBA’s EIDL is meant to provide relief to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue as a result of COVID-19.

  • Eligibility: As an independent contractor or self-employed individual, you are eligible to apply.
  • How to Apply: You will apply directly through the SBA via their online portal. This application will allow you to apply for both the loan and the emergency cash advance.

Note: While the cash advance is for up to $10,000, the SBA did limit the cash advance to $1,000 per employee. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can count themselves as an employee and are eligible to apply for a $1,000 emergency cash advance.

More information including terms/conditions of the loan and emergency cash advance can be found here.

For more information on other Coronavirus related topics, visit our home page HERE.

Have questions? Let us know! Email us and we will do our best to find the answer.