Gig workers eligible for covid-19 unemployment benefits and rebate as part of $2 trillion Senate stimulus bill (this includes musicians)

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Dream Wife at The Echo — Photos: ZB Images

UPDATE: (APRIL, 15) – Covid-19 pandemic stimulus checks have arrived! They said it would arrive in a timely fashion, and it did. Direct deposits rolled out on Monday. If you have yet to receive your stimulus check, don’t worry. It’s coming. So long as you have done a few things … scroll down to “When and How Will You Get Your covid-19 Stimulus Money” for more details and to use the IRS’s online tool to track your stimulus rebate.

UPDATE: (APRIL 1) – How to Apply for California Unemployment as a Gig Worker (aka Covid-19 Stimulus Pandemic Unemployment Assistance). Go here to read our latest post.

UPDATE: (March 28) – How much coronavirus stimulus money will I get? How do I get my covid-19 stimulus money rebate and file for unemployment as a gig workers? If you’re asking yourself these questions, we’ve done some digging and got the answers for you! Scroll down to our updated info.

UPDATE: (March 27) – The House has approved the $2 trillion stimulus package and 45 is slated to sign today! Expect some coronavirus / covid-19 stimulus money soon! More here.

Last night, the Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill to aid U.S. residents in need of coronavirus / covid-19 relief. For the first time in like, ever, this financial aid is a temporary “pandemic unemployment assistance” program available for independent contractors and others not usually eligible for unemployment insurance. In our [music] industry, the term used for such independent contractors is “gig workers.” This probably includes YOU or someone you know.

The bill will make its way to the House of Representatives for a vote this week. Once it passes, gig workers will be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. 

What is a gig-worker?

A gig-worker is someone who receives payment for their services via 1099 as opposed to traditional 9-5’er W2s. If you’re receiving under-the-table payment for your gigs, and / or have not filed your 2018 taxes, this does NOT apply to you.

For example, I’m a gig worker. I get paid for sponsored posts, hosting events, advertising, and affiliate commissions through 1099s. Considering Grimy Goods has also suffered some advertising losses, this stimulus package for gig workers is vital to keeping our pages flowing with fresh music content, as well as tips and advice to support our music community during this pandemic.

So what exactly is a gig worker? Sometimes gig workers are referred to as free-lancers, independent contractors, etc. Some work odd hours; some do seasonal work; some work-from-home or on-location. A gig worker does not get paid a salary like your regular 9-5’er; instead they get paid via 1099s.

In the music industry, some examples of gig workers are:

  • Bands
  • Musicians
  • Singers
  • Artists
  • Dancers
  • Lighting Techs
  • Camera Crew
  • Sound Engineers
  • Promoters
  • Journalists / Bloggers
  • Hosts
  • Graphic Designers
  • Tour Managers
  • Publicists
  • Bookers

Gig workers are not usually eligible for unemployment insurance, but the coronavirus pandemic is a unique case that is affecting every type of worker. So long as you have received 1099s and have accounted for them in your 2018 and / or 2019 tax return, you are eligible for covid-19 jobless benefits under the new virus bill.

When and How Will You Get Your covid-19 Stimulus Money

UPDATE: (April, 15) — As I previously mentioned below, so long as you have filed a tax return for 2018 and / or 2019, and had your tax refund sent via direct deposit, your stimulus check is on it’s way!

According to CNBC, Social Security retirement and disability beneficiaries will also automatically receive their payments. Those who do not typically file tax returns and have not provided the IRS with their bank account information, including low-income Americans, as well anyone receiving paper checks will have to wait a bit longer, according to the U.S. Treasury. No checks have been mailed yet, and it is expected to take a few months for all of them to be sent out.

You can find out when you will receive your stimulus check by using the IRS new Get My Payment Tool. You will need to input your Social Security number and the mailing address on your last tax return to check the status of your check.

*end update*

All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 married) are eligible to receive the full $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate. If you have kids, you’ll be eligible to receive an extra $500 per child.

This money is for all! Even us gig workers! So long as you have filed a tax return for 2018 and / or 2019. No action is necessary from you to receive your covid-19 financial aid rebate. The IRS will be issuing rebates in the coming weeks, once the House has passed the bill.

Additionally, gig workers can file for unemployment benefits under the Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act. An additional $600 per week payment will be available to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months.

Stay tuned and bookmark this post as we will be updating it with more news relative to the covid-19 financial stimulus package. For more information about the coronavirus Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, visit the official Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act.

How Much Coronavirus Stimulus Money Will I Get?

How much coronavirus stimulus money will you get? Your rebate all depends on your 2018 or 2019 tax return. Which ever you filed last, will determine how much your covid-19 rebate is. For example, if you’re single and made under 99,000, you will receive $1,200. If you have a child, you will receive an extra $500 (per child)

Use this stimulus rebate calculator to find out how much your stimulus check will be.

How Do Gig Workers Apply For Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

UPDATE: (APRIL 1): We’ve gone through the process ourselves! Check out our updated post for a step-by-step guide on how to apply for covid-19 unemployment as a gig worker / independent contractor.

*update end*

Ah. This is the golden question in which we are all waiting for that shimmering answer. How do I apply for unemployment as a gig worker? Considering 45 just signed the stimulus bill late afternoon, this information is not yet available. If you check the Employment Development Department for the State of California, you will find no updated information for “gig workers” in relations to the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

What we do know:

Self-employed people such a gig workers and independent contractors are newly eligible for unemployment benefits. If you are self-employed and previously didn’t qualify for unemployment benefits, you’re eligible now.

This bill creates a new program, called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, that extends benefits to gig workers, contractors and others who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for unemployment compensation but cannot work due to the coronavirus emergency. You’ll get the $600 per week, plus half the average unemployment benefit in your state. More here.

Benefit amounts will be calculated based on previous income, using a formula from the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, according to a congressional aide.

Self-employed workers will also be eligible for the additional $600 weekly benefit provided by the federal government.

For a thorough FAQs in regards to the stimulus package and rebate checks, visit the New York Times comprehensive list of questions in answers in regards to unemployment and stimulus checks.

Words: Sandra B. Olinger

Big thanks, to Bernie Sanders for pushing and fighting for us!

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2 thoughts on “Gig workers eligible for covid-19 unemployment benefits and rebate as part of $2 trillion Senate stimulus bill (this includes musicians)

  1. Sandra Burciaga Olinger Post author

    Hi Keith. We just published a new post today that may help you: How to Apply for California Unemployment as a Gig Worker (aka Covid-19 Stimulus Pandemic Unemployment Assistance). You can read it here. Good luck!

  2. Keith David Muncy

    I am a newly signed heart song Nashville music group employee but I haven’t yet filed any type of form. Therefore I was wondering am I still eligible for stimulus aid and if so how. Also, how do I apply for these unemployment benefits due to me being out of work until June or possibly July. Thanks and please help asap. Sincerely, Elder Keith Muncy.

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