CARES Act, Take 2: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Extended for Independent Contractors

Earlier this evening, December 27, the President signed the next stimulus bill that Congress ‎passed on December 21. The legislation extends unemployment assistance not only for ‎employees but also for independent contractors and other self-employed individuals for 11 ‎weeks. The bill (H.R. 133) includes the “Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of ‎‎2020,” which provides for an extension of the CARES Act unemployment provisions from ‎December 31, 2020 until March 14, 2021, including the provisions that had created a new form ‎of benefits for all self-employed individuals: pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA). As ‎detailed in a prior blog post, the original CARES Act provided PUA benefits for up to $600 a ‎week for as many as 39 weeks, retroactive to January 27, 2020. The new stimulus bill, CARES ‎Act II, halves that amount and limits PUA to $300/week. Those eligible for PUA also will ‎receive an additional $300/week through the end of the extension period, whereas CARES Act I ‎had added $600/week in federal stimulus payments. Finally, the new stimulus bill provides ‎independent contractors with paid sick and paid family leave benefits through March 14, 2021.‎

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