Rep. Grant: Contract and Gig Workers Should File for Unemployment Now

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) is encouraging ALL unemployed individuals to file an unemployment insurance claim now. Whether you are a traditional employee, an independent contractor, gig economy worker or you are unsure which you are, apply nowYou may qualify for regular unemployment benefits, even if you think you don’t.

Before IDES pays unemployment benefits, the department is required to determine whether the individual is an employee or an independent contractor. Many individuals, up to 60% the according to the US Department of Labor, do not apply for unemployment because they believe they are not eligible. Many do not think they are eligible because they have been told they are an independent contractor. However, the legal definition for independent contractor is narrower than the general public typically understands it to be. 

Anyone who is unemployed or under-employed should file for unemployment and IDES will determine their eligibility. Workers who are ultimately determined exempt from the unemployment system will be automatically transitioned to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. IDES expects to be able to begin to pay PUA by the week of May 11th. Please note that the earnings requirement for the regular unemployment are different for PUA, so IDES will need to reach out to truly independent contractors to obtain proof of their income.