Freelance Workers Shut Out of Pandemic Unemployment Aid Could Receive Relief From New Congressional Bill

Introduced on Monday (July 20) by U.S. Representatives Adam Schiff and Judy Chu (both D-CA) and co-sponsored by 19 others, the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act would allow individuals who derive much of their income from freelance work – a group that includes the majority of independent music workers – to opt into the freelancer-focused Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which offers state unemployment benefits to freelance workers for the first time in U.S. history.

First signed into law in March, the CARES Act barred freelancers who surpassed the minimum W2 earnings requirement for their state’s traditional unemployment system from receiving PUA benefits. That led many self-employed workers to receive unemployment relief on the basis of their relatively insignificant W2 income, leaving them without the assistance they needed to pay essential bills during the coronavirus-induced shutdown. Under the new bill, those workers would be granted access to unemployment relief on the basis of their earnings from both W2 and freelance work combined.

Click here to read more from Billboard.