Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has released new instructions this week for 1099 workers who have lost work due to the coronavirus emergency.

Self-employed and contract workers who believe they may be eligible for new federal benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, must first apply for regular unemployment insurance before applying for benefits under PUA when a new application portal opens on May 11 via the IDES website.

People filing claims will receive an eligibility determination of zero dollars ($0). They can then appeal that decision by providing verification of wages earned, or they can submit a claim for PUA benefits. Claimants who have already applied for and been denied regular unemployment benefits can submit a claim through the new PUA portal when it opens. Receiving a denial for regular unemployment benefits is a mandatory first step in determining eligibility for PUA.

Filing for regular unemployment also provides claimants the opportunity to select how they want to receive benefits. Eligible claimants can choose between direct deposit or a debit card onto which their benefits will be loaded. Debit cards can take up to one to two weeks to receive in the mail while direct deposit payments take two to three days once a claimant completes their weekly certification for benefits. PUA provides benefits for individuals who are unemployed for COVID-19-related reasons for up to 39 weeks.

IDES is contracting with Deloitte to implement and maintain the web-based PUA program. While a program of this magnitude would normally take up to a year to design and implement, the department expects the program to launch on Monday, May 11.

PUA claims will be backdated to the individuals’ first week of unemployment, but no earlier than Feb. 2, and will continue for as long as the individual remains unemployed as a result of COVID-19, but no later than the week ending Dec. 26.

Those with questions or in need of assistance with unemployment benefits at this time are encouraged to visit IDES.Illinois.gov.

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