When hard times hit, freelancers and independent contractors get the short end of the stick. Unemployment insurance typically is reserved for traditional employees.
However, things have been different during the coronavirus pandemic. Not only can these workers apply for unemployment, but Uncle Sam is offering them a virtually strings-free $1,000.
As CNBC reports, a provision of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program known as “the advance” allows freelancers and independent contractors as well as sole proprietors to apply for a $1,000 grant.
If you are approved for the money, you do not need to pay it back.
The grant is part of a larger effort to help out small-business owners. Created by Congress as part of the CARES Act, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program allows small-business owners to apply for loans of up to $150,000.
CNBC talked to a man identified only as “Eli,” a New York-based freelance writer. According to CNBC:
“When Eli’s cousin told him about the grant option, he was skeptical. Still, he filled out the application in a few minutes, he said, ‘and then a few days later, you see $1,000 in your bank account.'”
You must apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan to be eligible for the grant, CNBC says. But you do not have to accept the loan.
When you are approved for the loan — whether you decide to accept it or not — the grant should soon appear in your bank account.
Forbes reports that to be eligible for the grant, you must have been in business as of Jan. 31. Although grants are available until Dec. 16, Forbes predicts that the federal Small Business Administration “will quickly run out of money, so you should apply as soon as possible.“
Forbes says the application should take about 15 minutes to fill out. The publication also offers a list of application do’s and don’ts at its website.
For more on coronavirus-related relief for the self-employed, check out “This Group Is Eligible for Federal Crisis Funds but May Not Know It.”