Unemployment Benefits System For NC Self-Employed Workers Begins This Weekend

Apr 22, 2020

Workers who aren’t usually eligible for unemployment are getting some financial relief through a federal stimulus program. North Carolina is working on getting the program up and running so workers can apply applying for benefits by the end of this week.

Self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers are typically not eligible for unemployment. But under a federal stimulus program, they will receive $600 a week. Kenny Colbert at the Employers Association says it’s up to each state to figure out which documents people need to prove they’ve been affected by the pandemic.

"You’re obviously going to have to provide some kind of 1099 documentation to show that No. 1, you have been receiving income from some source," Colbert said. "And then probably, some type of a letter from that source to say ‘I no longer have work available.’"

Colbert is concerned the state’s Division of Employment Security won’t have enough staff to handle all the claims. The agency says it will triple its staff by next week to handle the almost 700,000 unemployment claims it’s received since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March. The agency is currently testing its new system for the program, but says it may miss the April 25 launch date by a day. 

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the day when the new workers are eligible.

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