COVID-19 Post #4 – Unemployment for the Self-Employed

COVID-19 Post #4 – Texas Workforce Commission Promotes Unemployment Insurance for 1099 Contractors and the Self-Employed

As posted by the Texas Workforce Commission on April 13, 2020, as part of the CARES Act unemployment portion regarding Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for self-employed and 1099 contractors was implemented.  It’s recommended through PUA as a result of COVID-19 benefits online through Unemployment Benefit Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or by calling a TWC Tele-Center any day between 7AM and 7PM at 800-939-6631.  When applying, individuals affected by the pandemic indicate that as the reason they lost their job.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits for persons impacted by COVID-19 and covers individuals who are self-employed, who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment compensation, or who have exhausted state benefits.

Additionally, TWC has begun rolling out the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), adding an additional $600 per week for claimants.  Individuals receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) or federal extended benefits qualify for the additional $600.

If you have already applied for traditional UI benefits, you do not need to take any further action to qualify for PUA.  Do not apply for benefits again.  TWC will review eligibility for PUA for all existing applicants automatically and notify claimants by mail or electronic correspondence of their eligibility.

If you are an independent contractor, self-employed or a 1099 worker, you have until December 26, 2020, to provide your 2019 Internal Revenue Service Form 1040 and Schedule C, F, or SE.

If you are needing to contact the Texas Workforce Commission via telephone, it’s recommended to contact them during the following access times:

Area Codes Beginning with 9                         Monday – Wednesday – Friday          8AM – Noon

Area Codes Beginning with 3, 4, 5, 6             Monday – Wednesday – Friday          1PM – 5PM

Area Codes Beginning with 7, 8                     Tuesday – Thursday – Saturday         8AM – Noon

Area Codes Beginning with 2                         Tuesday – Thursday – Saturday         1PM – 5PM

Texans will not be penalized for a delay due to call or user volume.  Claims for individuals affected by COVID-19 are eligible to be backdated.  Staggering claims will provide help to reduce frustrations for many Texans and provide better access to needed services.

Unemployment benefits are taxable income reportable to the Internal Revenue Service under federal law.  You must report all unemployment benefits you receive to the IRS on your federal tax return.  Tax withholding is completely voluntary; withholding taxes is not required.  If you ask TWC to withhold taxes, they will withhold 10% of the gross amount of each of the benefit payments and send it to the IRS.  Once people have filed for unemployment, they must request payment every 2 weeks.

For a more step-by-step instructional pdf, click on the following pdf: TWC  Disaster Unemployment Assistance Payments Online.pdf and follow the directions provided by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Dwayne J. Briscoe

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