California is now accepting Unemployment Claims for Self-Employed

In the past, if you were not a W2 employee and lost your job, you were not able to get any unemployment assistance. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, that has has now changed. Non-W2 workers may apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI). In California the EDD manages unemployment claims and today is the first day they are accepting UI claims for self-employed individuals.

For more information and to file your claim go here:

Since today is the first day, the website is  going to be overwhelmed so please be patient.

Benefit Amounts

The provisions of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program include:

  • Up to 39 weeks of benefits starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 26, 2020, depending on when you became directly impacted by the pandemic.
  • An additional $600 to each PUA weekly benefit amount you may be eligible to receive, as part of the separate CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation program. Only the weeks of a claim between March 29 and July 25 are eligible for the extra $600 payments.
  • A new 13-week federal extension for those who run out of their regular state-provided UI benefits (maximum 26 weeks). File a PUA claim and you may be converted to the federal extension once it is available.

Benefits can be retroactive to weeks starting on or after February 2, 2020, depending on your last day of work due to COVID-19 and regardless of when you submitted your claim application. The effective date of your claim will begin the Sunday of the week when you last worked and became unemployed due to reasons directly related to COVID-19.


The PUA benefits are payable if you don’t qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in California or another state and also do not qualify for state Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave benefits. This includes:

  • Business owners
  • Self-employed individuals
  • Independent contractors

You can also be eligible if you qualified for regular UI benefits, but have already collected all of those benefits.

If you are not a US citizen, you can only be paid PUA benefits if you were legally working in the US when you were affected by COVID-19. You can only claim benefits for the weeks that you were legally allowed to work.

You must also meet one of the following criteria:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • You are unable to work because a health care provider advised you to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • A child or other person in the household for whom you have primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 and the school or facility care is required for you to work.
  • You became the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • You have to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • You were scheduled to start a job that is now unavailable as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • You are unable to reach the place of employment as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • If you work as an independent contractor with reportable income, you may also qualify for PUA benefits if you are unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited your ability to continue performing your customary work activities, and has thereby forced you to stop working.

Info you need to apply:

  • Proof of Citizenship or authorization to work in the U.S.
  • Information about your employment history (Since today is the first day, it is unclear what documentation you will need to prove your employment history as a self-employed individual. My guess is a copy of your Schedule C for sole proprietors/Single-member LLCs or your Form K1 for partners in a partnership).


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