Unemployment Insurance for Freelancers & The Stimulus Package

by Steven Weisz for The Dance Journal

President Trump has signed a bipartisan $2 trillion economic relief plan to offer assistance to tens of millions of American households affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Its components include stimulus payments to individuals, expanded unemployment coverage, student loan changes, and more.

There have been many varying posts and information floating on Social Media and the Internet. Based on factual information I have received from government agencies I have been working with, here is a summary of what to expect.

As much of this is reliant on individual States to implement, the information below is what I have been given as of 3/27/2020 at 9 PM by State Representative’s Offices.

The stimulus plan now includes far more workers than are usually eligible for unemployment benefits. Benefits will be available for self-employed individuals and part-time workers. Those who are unemployed, are partly unemployed or cannot work for a wide variety of coronavirus-related reasons should be eligible to receive benefits.

Implementation of these new benefits and the amounts you may receive is dependent on the State. As the bill is still very new, State agencies have not been fully set up to handle this as of yet. Once they are fully established and have received the necessary federal funds, applications by freelancers / self-employed can then be made.

Benefit amounts will be calculated based on previous income, most likely using a formula from the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA – https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/597) program.

Self-employed workers will also be eligible for the additional $600 weekly benefit provided by the federal government as part of the stimulus package.

At the moment, the stimulus package is one single payment. The amount of that payment will depend on your income.

Single adults with Social Security numbers who have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will get the full amount of $1,200. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total of $2,400. And taxpayers filing as head of household will get the full payment of $1,200 if they earned $112,500 or less.

Above those income figures, the payment decreases until it stops altogether for single people earning $99,000 or married people who have no children and earn $198,000.

According to the Senate Finance Committee, a family with two children will no longer be eligible for any payments if its income surpassed $218,000.

You are not eligible for a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult. Everyone for the most part must have a valid Social Security number in order to be eligible. The only exception is for members of the military.

You can check your adjusted gross income on Line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax return.
If you haven’t prepared a tax return yet, you can use your 2018 return.
If you have not filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return, this could potentially hold up your payment.

Payments will start to be sent in approximately 3 weeks according to the treasury department. You do NOT need to do any further application or paperwork. If the Internal Revenue Service already has your bank account information, it will transfer the money to you via direct deposit based on the recent income-tax figures it already has.

You will also get a paper notice by postal mail a few weeks after your payment has been disbursed. That notice will contain information about where the payment was disbursed and in what form it was made. If you have not received your payment but received your notice, you will need to contact the IRS.

This stimulus payment is tax-free if I have read the bill correctly.

I have done my best to interpret and present the information about the stimulus bill and unemployment insurance for freelancers/self-employed to the best of my knowledge based on facts provided to me by various government agencies. I am not offering legal or financial advice with this post nor do I claim to be an expert in these areas. Please do your own due diligence as you see fit for your individual circumstances. I accept neither liability or responsibility for decisions made as a result of this post/email.

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