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Self-employed, independent contractors able to apply for unemployment benefits Saturday


Nevada workers who have historically been ineligible for unemployment benefits can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance starting May 16. And they’re among the last in the country to be able to apply for those funds, the Nevada Current reported today

Individuals who apply for the assistance must be available for work, have prior earnings or a job offer in Nevada, but be unable to work or partially unemployed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is available for individuals who do not qualify for or have exhausted state unemployment benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and State Extended Benefits (SEC).

Here’s who can apply on Saturday:

Workers who have shut down operations due to slowdowns in business from COVID-19 

  • Self-employed individuals
  • 1099 contract workers, independent contractors 
  • Gig workers, including wages, tips and other job-related earnings
  • People whose job offers were rescinded as a direct result of COVID-19

Individuals who are unable to work because they need to self-isolate

  • Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis
  • Individuals with a household member who has tested positive
  • Individuals who are unable to physically go to work because of stay-at-home orders
  • People who had to quit their jobs due to testing positive for COVID-19 and are unable to perform their work duties
  • Individuals who have been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to someone who has or is suspected of having COVID-19


  • Individuals providing care for a family member or someone in their household who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • Parents or primary caregivers of children who are unable to go to school or child care facilities due to closures, and it directly affects their ability to work
  • People whose head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19, making them the breadwinner or major supporter of the house 

Who does not qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance:

  • People who are eligible for regular unemployment benefits, PEUC or SEB
  • Individuals who are able to work remotely without reduced pay
  • People receiving paid leave benefits, including sick leave
  • Individuals who are unemployed, but not due to COVID-19
  • Individuals who were not working in Nevada at the time they became unemployed or do not have a bona fide job offer in the state

What will the benefits look like?

Those who qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are eligible to receive between $181 and $469 per week. The payments are expected to start being distributed by May 23, according to the Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation (DETR)

The assistance is available until December 26, 2020 and will provide those who are eligible with up to 39 weeks of benefits.

DETR will backdate claims for the program to the earliest date of eligibility, which is the first week an individual became unemployed due the COVID-19 pandemic. DETR will backdate claims to February 2, 2020. 

Individuals can choose to have these benefits paid through direct deposit, which will be processed faster, or get a new debit card. As with regular unemployment benefits Pandemic Unemployment Assistance recipients will need to file for benefits weekly.

“We look forward to the relief it will bring to tens of thousands of Nevadans,” DETR’s director Heather Korbulic said.

Individuals who collect Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will also receive an additional $600 per week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). These benefits will be available through the week ending July 25, 2020.

Where to file

This assistance program is under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. DETR contracted Geographic Solutions (GeoSol) to implement the program’s claim filing system. 

Geosol staff will be monitoring the website, where individuals can file a claim starting May 16.

Alorica, the company that has been fielding general questions, will be monitoring the call center. During the first two days, staff will be available to take questions on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and can be reached at 800-603-9681. Afterward, staff will take calls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, starting May 18. 

Individuals filing standard unemployment benefits are instructed to go to DETR’s website or call 702-486-0350 and 775-684-0350 for questions and concerns.

Lucia Starbuck
Lucia Starbuck
Lucia Starbuck is a graduate of University of Nevada, Reynolds School of Journalism. She has reported on issues impacting Northern Nevada, including the affordable housing crisis, a lack of oral healthcare and challenges voters with disabilities face while trying to participate in the election process. She has directed and filmed two documentaries about homelessness.Through reporting, Lucia strives to shine a light on the challenges vulnerable populations face in our community.




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