Can Independent Contractors File for Unemployment and Ppp

As an independent contractor, you may be wondering if it`s possible to file for unemployment and access the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) during these tough economic times. The answer is yes, but the process and eligibility criteria can be confusing, so it`s important to understand the details before you apply.

Filing for Unemployment as an Independent Contractor:

Traditionally, independent contractors have not been eligible for unemployment benefits because they are not considered employees. However, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in March 2020 expanded unemployment benefits to include self-employed individuals, including independent contractors.

Under the CARES Act, independent contractors can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) through their state`s unemployment office. PUA provides unemployment benefits to those who are ineligible for traditional unemployment benefits, including independent contractors and gig workers. The amount of benefits you can receive will vary depending on your state, but PUA benefits can last for up to 39 weeks, with an additional $600 in weekly benefits available through July 31, 2020.

To qualify for PUA, you must show that you are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This can include factors such as having your business shut down or reduced hours due to stay-at-home orders or a lack of work. You also must be able and available to work if there were employment opportunities available.

Applying for PPP as an Independent Contractor:

The PPP is a loan program designed to help small businesses keep their employees on payroll during the pandemic. Independent contractors are eligible to apply for PPP loans, but the process can be complicated.

To apply for a PPP loan as an independent contractor, you will need to provide documentation of your income and expenses, including a Schedule C tax form, to show how much you earned in 2019. You will also need to show that you have been impacted by the pandemic, such as a loss of income or work due to stay-at-home orders.

The loan amount you can receive will be based on your 2019 net income, up to a maximum of $100,000. You can use the loan to cover your own income, as well as other business expenses such as rent, utilities, and supplies. In order to have the loan forgiven, you must use at least 75 percent of the funds for payroll expenses.


As an independent contractor, you may be eligible for both unemployment benefits and the PPP loan program during the pandemic. However, the application process and eligibility criteria can be complex, so it`s important to do your research and understand the details before you apply. Remember to keep detailed records of your income and expenses, and be prepared to demonstrate how you have been impacted by the pandemic. With careful planning and preparation, you can take advantage of these programs to help protect your livelihood during these challenging times.

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