The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020.    The CAREs Act provides assistance to workers who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus emergency by creating Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).  The Act also provides eligibility to the self-employed for federally funded Unemployment Assistance to be administered by each state.   

Under Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, states will administer an additional $600 weekly payment to certain eligible individuals who are receiving other benefits.   Under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, states can provide up to 13 weeks of federally funded benefits to qualified individuals.   

Self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers can file for New Jersey unemployment through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. The state Department of Labor says that the minimum payment will be $231 a week for 39 weeks, plus $600 a week for 13 weeks. The benefits may be retroactive for periods that began after February 2, 2020.

How much is my weekly benefit?

Per the NJ DOL & Workforce Development office, PUA potentially provides the same amount as regular unemployment (60% of your average weekly salary, up to a maximum of $713 per week) for up to a total of 39 weeks. The PUA amount for the self-employed is calculated using prior year(s) tax returns if wages are not reported through wage records. The PUA minimum, for businesses operating at a loss or with insufficient income to qualify for benefits, is $231 per week.  PUA benefits are considered taxable income.  PUA recipients are also eligible for an extra $600 per week, also taxable. The $600 per week is retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020, and ends the week of July 25, 2020.

How do I Apply?

You must be negatively impacted by the coronavirus emergency to be eligible. See USDOL’s website, “Unemployment Insurance Relief During COVID-19 Outbreak.” You will have to certify that you are unemployed, partially unemployed,
or unable or unavailable to work for any of a list of coronavirus-related reasons.

We suggest reviewing the Guidance for Self-Employed Individuals published by the NJ DOL & Workforce Development.  You can find that guidance HERE.

You can apply online here:

We will provide additional guidance as we learn more.  

We are happy to discuss any questions or comments you may have.  Our team is working and available to review with you.  Please contact our office at 610-544-5900 or [email protected] .

We are in this together,

Brinker Simpson & Company, LLC

Disclaimer: This alert is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Information contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used as tax advice & cannot be used by the recipient to avoid penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code. We strongly advise you to seek professional assistance with respect to your specific issue(s).