Will independent contractor benefits be available for the self-employed, independent contractors, artists, musicians, small business owners, etc.?

The Employment Security Department (ESD) has provided this response:

Maybe! Coverage under Washington’s unemployment insurance law is broader than under most other laws. This means that just because you are classified as an independent contractor under some laws does not mean that you are an independent contractor under Washington’s unemployment laws. If you are a gig worker who has been laid off or lost work, we encourage you to apply for benefits. We will evaluate each application for eligibility on a case by case basis.
We realize that there are some challenges with the online application, and it is not currently designed for the way you work. We are working to resolve those issues. For now, fill it out the best that you can.
If you do apply, to help speed the process for determining your eligibility and potential benefit amount, please be prepared to gather your payment records from the last year to provide to the claims staff. This process may take some time, but we are doing everything we can to increase efficiency and hire more staff.
ESD Director Suzi Levine has also posted a YouTube video with advice for gig workers.

The federal stimulus package will also provide unemployment assistance to gig workers. Check back with the ESD link above for updated information.


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