Unemployment Insurance for Self-Employed Workers: How to File, Collect and Report

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The benefits of self-employment are numerous. You maintain a large degree of independence in when, where and how you work. You have ample flexibility in whom you work with and in pursuing your own vision of success. You may not even have to commute.

But alongside all of the perks of working for yourself is — or traditionally has been — a consequential downside: Self-employed people, independent contractors, freelancers and gig workers have never had the protection of unemployment insurance benefits when they lose work or income. Until, that is, the United States government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020.

Under the CARES Act, states were given the option of providing unemployment benefits to self-employed people, including independent contractors, freelancers and gig workers, whose employment was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic — and this decision shifted financial situations in some key ways. If you work for yourself, it’s vital to learn about unemployment insurance for self-employed people in the United States, along with what the recent policy changes could mean for you.