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Can Self Employed People Get Unemployment

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Irs Reminder: For Many Employers And Self

Business owners, self-employed can apply for unemployment benefits on April 28
  • IRS Statements and Announcements
  • IR-2021-256, December 27, 2021

    WASHINGTON The Internal Revenue Service today reminded employers and self-employed individuals that chose to defer paying part of their 2020 Social Security tax obligation that a payment is due on January 3, 2022.

    Most affected employers and self-employed individuals received reminder billing notices from the IRS. The agency noted, however, that those affected are still required to make the payment on time, even if they did not receive a bill.

    As part of the COVID relief provided during 2020, employers and self-employed people could choose to put off paying the employer’s share of their eligible Social Security tax liability, normally 6.2% of wages. Half of that deferral is now due on January 3, 2022, and the other half on January 3, 2023.

    Under separate COVID relief, employers could choose to forgo withholding Social Security taxes from eligible employees, and instead withhold tax this year and then pay those amounts to the IRS. For details, visit What employers need to know about repayment of deferred payroll taxes on

    Can I Get Unemployment If Im Self

    Under normal circumstances, self-employed people like sole proprietors, independent contractors, freelancers and gig workers dont typically qualify for unemployment benefits.

    But the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act opens the door for states to pay unemployment to self-employed people if states choose to do so.

    Earnings Received From A Transaction

    Self-employed farmer

    Compassionate care benefits

    Eric is a self-employed farmer who works year-round on his farm growing barley, wheat, and canola. He also produces calves that he normally sells in the fall. In 2020, Eric earned $20,000 in self-employed earnings .

    Eric registered with the EI program in April 2020 so he can access EI special benefits if needed.

    In September 2021, Eric’s mother becomes gravely ill with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks. On September 28, 2021, Eric applies for EI compassionate care benefits and, based on the medical certificate he provides, is entitled to 26 weeks of compassionate care benefits, which is the maximum number of weeks available. His benefit rate is established at $212 a week. This amount is based on his 2020 self-employed farming earnings of $20,000, as calculated under the Income Tax Act.

    On October 17, 2021, Eric sells some of his barley for a total of $20,000. He calculates the expenses related to this transaction, which includes the overhead and direct expenses items, to be $18,100. He reports $1,900 in net farming earnings on his EI report card.

    Because Eric is receiving these earnings from a transaction and because they are more than $1,042 , they are allocated to the weeks in which the work that gave rise to the transaction was performed.

    Eric informs Service Canada that the work was performed from March 29 to September 19, 2021.

    Self-employed real estate agent

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    How Do I Apply For Unemployment Benefits

    Unemployment insurance is a joint program between the federal and state governments. The federal government sets guidelines for how state programs can operate, and states set their own rules within those guidelines.

    If youre self-employed and seeking unemployment benefits during the pandemic, youll need to file a claim with your state unemployment office. Youll typically file in the state where you worked. But if you live in one state and work in one or more other states, your home states unemployment agency should be able to guide you on how to file.

    You can search for a states unemployment website through the U.S. Department of Labors CareerOneStop website. Depending on the state and its rules, you may be able to submit an online application, or file by phone or in person at a state unemployment office location. Check your states website to learn about its application process.

    Take note that if you previously tried to file for unemployment and were denied, it may be worth contacting the state about your claim. The Department of Labor has directed states to review claims denied after Jan. 27, 2020, to identify people who may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

    Confirming Your Eligibility Forpup

    PUA unemployment claim for self

    The Department of Social Protection can ask you to provide evidence that youcontinue to be eligible for PUP.

    If you are contacted by the Department and asked to provide evidence of youreligibility for PUP you should do this online at

    If you are still eligible for PUP, you will continue to get your payment asnormal. If you no longer meet the eligibility criteria, you must close your PUPclaim. You can closeyour claim on

    The Department does not ask you for your bank account or financialinstitution account details as part of the process.

    If you have questions, you can contact the Departments Income SupportHelpline for COVID on 0818 800 024.

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    How Much Money Will I Pay

    As with any insurance program, you will need to pay premiums. In 2021, for every $100 you earn, you will need to contribute $1.58 in EI premiums up to a defined maximumthe same amount that employees pay. This means the most you will pay in EI premiums for 2021 is $889.54.

    Since Quebec has its own parental insurance program that offers maternity, paternity, and parental benefits, the Government of Canada has adjusted the premiums accordingly for that province. In 2021, self-employed people in Quebec who register for the EI program will pay $1.18 for every $100 of earnings, up to a total of $664.34 for the year.

    EI premiums are calculated based on your income tax return. For example, if you sign up for the program in 2021, your premiums will be based on your 2020 tax return.

    Are Unemployment Insurance Payments Taxable

    Typically, yes. You’ll report your income from unemployment insurance on your income tax return. That amount will be subject to federal income taxes and state income taxes for some states. When setting up your benefit checks with your state, you may choose to have taxes withheld from your payment. For 2020, up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits per person can be excluded from income provided certain income requirements are met.

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    Requesting A Review Of Your Pup Rate

    If you feel that it may make a difference to your rate, you can request areview of your payment from the DSP.

    To request a review of your rate, you should email You can also writeto PUP Rerate Requests, Department of Social Protection, Intreo Centre, CorkRoad, Waterford. You should include all supporting documentation with yourrequest.

    How To Register For Special Ei Benefits For The Self

    Self-employed, gig workers still cant access unemployment benefits

    Enter into an agreement to opt in to the EI program by registering online through the government’s My Service Canada Account portal.

    But there are lots of conditions to satisfy before any EI payments can be made, and the program isn’t for everyone. The figures show that, so far, the program hasn’t attracted the interest of the vast majority of the country’s self-employed. Since the expanded EI program first became available at the beginning of the year, just 11,127 have opted in and 1,810 have started drawing benefits.

    Experts say people should carefully check out the pros and cons before signing up because it just doesn’t make financial sense for many entrepreneurs to join the EI club.

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    How Do I Apply For Pua

    The process will vary from state to state, but start by filing a claim with your state’s unemployment insurance program. You can file in any state in which you’ve worked, so it’s worth checking the benefits of each state when deciding where to file. If you’ve worked in multiple states, contact your resident state’s unemployment agency to learn how to file for benefits in other states.

    Some states may have you file for regular unemployment and then send you a PUA application if you qualify others will have you directly file for PUA benefits. Again, talk to your local unemployment agency to get information on your state’s specific process.

    Should You Opt In Or Stay Out Experts Say ‘do The Math’

    Ever since the federal Employment Insurance program began in 1940 , it has specifically excluded one very large group the self-employed entrepreneur.

    They haven’t needed to pay EI premiums. But the self-employed also couldn’t get any benefits when they found themselves unable to work.

    That has now changed. Since the start of 2011, small business owners and other self-employed workers have been allowed to access select parts of the EI program the “special benefits.” These include maternity and parental benefits, sickness allowance and compassionate-care payments.

    Now, the more than 2.6 million Canadians who are self-employed small business owners, real estate agents, lawyers and farmers, among others can choose to become part of the safety net that millions of Canadian workers have counted on for 70 years.

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    How Do I Register

    If you choose to register, you must do the following:

    • Visit the Service Canada page and sign up for My Service Canada Account. This service is accessible online from home, at any Service Canada Centre using one of the many Internet kiosks available, or at a public Internet access site in your community, such as a public library. After you register, we will mail you a personal access code within 10 days.

    Once you have your personal access code, use it to log back into My Service Canada Account and register for EI special benefits for self-employed people.

    • If you have already signed up for My Service Canada Account, simply log in and register for EI special benefits for self-employed people.

    What If I Change My Mind About Taking Part In This Ei Program

    Everything You Need to Know About Filing for Unemployment ...

    After the 60-day period, you can terminate your registration at any timeas long as you have never claimed any benefits. This termination will be effective at the end of the calendar year, so you will have to pay EI premiums for the entire calendar year.

    Once you have claimed EI benefits, your participation in the program lasts indefinitely. You will have to pay premiums for the entire duration of your self-employed career, regardless of any change in the nature of your self-employment.

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    How Much Might I Get

    States determine unemployment insurance benefit amounts based on multiple factors, including past earnings during a certain period of time, called a base period, set by the state.

    Generally, states also have maximum and minimum amounts for weekly benefits. For example, as of January 2020, Massachusetts had a maximum benefit amount of $1,234 and Mississippis maximum benefit amount was $235 .

    In addition to the weekly benefit amount you qualify for through the states program, you can also get an additional $600 per week through July 31, 2020, thanks to federal coronavirus legislation. The CARES Act also created the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which provides the extra weekly amount.

    What This Program Offers

    Employment Insurance has a program designed for self-employed people. If you run your own business or control more than 40% of your corporations voting shares, this program can provide you with access to special benefits as early as 12 months after registering. When you need to take time away from your business to care for yourself, your children or other family members, you could receive financial support of up to 55% of your earnings, up to a maximum amount. In 2021, the maximum amount is $595 per week.

    Please note that regular benefits arent available through this program.

    If youre a fisher, barber or hairdresser, or if you drive a taxi or other passenger vehicle, you dont need to register for the self-employed program. People in these professions should apply for EI benefits as an employee.

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    Collecting Unemployment When You’re Self

    Traditionally, self-employed professionals are ineligible for unemployment benefits because they generally do not make contributions to the unemployment taxes that these benefits come from. With the recent introduction of new unemployment and relief benefits for self-employed professionals, though, your eligibility may change.

    For instance, with new plans like disaster relief funds and other unemployment aid becoming available, you may be able to receive financial support during the COVID-19 crisis. In this article, we cover the types of self-employment you may identify as, along with several available financial support programs for collecting unemployment when you’re self-employed.

    Disaster Unemployment And Assistance

    How to get unemployment if you are self-employed

    Depending on the state you live in, you may qualify for the Disaster Unemployment Assistant program , which the federal government funds and provides assistance to people who have lost work due to a major disaster. To qualify for DUA program assistance, the disaster must be a presidential declaration, and you must be ineligible for other forms of unemployment compensation. Since the pandemic is a presidentially-declared major disaster, this unemployment assistance program can be helpful to look into.

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    What Are The Conditions I Have To Meet To Qualify For Ei Special Benefits

    You must meet the following conditions to qualify for EI special benefits:

    • your registration for access to the EI Program must still be valid , and
    • you must have reduced the amount of time devoted to your business by more than 40% because of:
      • the birth of a child
      • the need to care for your newborn or newly adopted child or children
      • illness, injury, or quarantine

    For more information, visit the Working While on Claim page.

    Stimulus : Unemployment Insurance For Self


    Due to the recent coronavirus pandemic, many businesses and individuals are facing challenging times including those that are self-employed. The government has issued unemployment insurance for self-employed individuals to help them manage their finances.

    For information on the third coronavirus relief package, please visit our American Rescue Plan: What Does it Mean for You and a Third Stimulus Check blog post.

    In the midst of recent economic hardship, the federal government has bolstered the financial assistance offered to businesses and improved the benefits of unemployment insurance for self-employed individuals. If you’re self-employed and wondering what aid you qualify for, we’ll help guide you through the process and what you need to know.

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    I Have To Provide Self

    A tax return or a 1099 received for self-employed contract work are examples of documents that could be used to prove that you were, or planned to be, self-employed or employed at some point during the full calendar year before and up to the start of your PUA claim.

    If your tax return or 1099 are for the same year your claim began, you must provide additional supporting documents to prove that you were self-employed prior to the start of your PUA claim.

    For example, if your PUA claim started in 2020 and you only provide a tax return for 2020, we would have no way of knowing if the work you performed to earn that income was done before the start of your PUA claim. You will need to provide business receipts, bank statements from a business account, or other proof , which clearly shows that at least some of your 2020 income was earned before the start of your PUA claim.

    Yes, a signed statement that provides details of your self-employment or employment can be submitted. Any other documentation that supports your statement should also be included.

    Your signed statement does not need to be notarized.

    Yes, if you receive a notice to provide self-employment or employment documentation, you must respond to that notice, even if you already submitted income documentation.

    Visit the Self-Employment and Employment Documentation section on the PUA page for more information.

    What Are The Technical Requirements For Uploading Self

    Can you apply for unemployment insurance on coronavirus ...

    To upload your documents through UI Online, the documents should be clear and readable. You can scan the documents or take a picture of the documents with a digital camera or mobile device to upload. Acceptable file formats are: JPEG, TIFF, PNG, GIF, and PDF. You can upload documents once you receive your notice. Maximum file size is 25 MB and up to 20 attachments total. Multiple documents may be included as one attachment.

    The federal government does not allow benefit payments to be made for weeks of unemployment after the program ends, even if you have a balance left on your claim. Your claim balance is the maximum benefit amount for your claim and is calculated at the beginning of a claim or an extension program. You may not be eligible to collect the full amount. For example, if you were placed on a FED-ED extension on September 5, 2021, the FED-ED extension had a maximum of 13 weeks available. But, the last date for any FED-ED extension was September 11. So, you would only receive one week of benefits, but your claim will still show 12 weeks of available benefits.

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    How Do You Apply For Unemployment Benefits

    Unemployment benefits are requested through the same state agencies as before the pandemic. In most states, the application is simple and can be completed online, over the phone or in person.

    Unemployment benefits can be a great help to those currently out of work. If you’re self-employed and needing assistance, there’s no harm in applying for this government-funded relief.

    TurboTax is here to help you navigate the different COVID-19 relief programs that you might be eligible for. Get up to date information, tax advice and tools to help you understand what coronavirus relief means to you empowering you to get more money in your pocket in this time of need at our Self-Employed and Small Business Coronavirus Relief Center.

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