The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry on Saturday began accepting unemployment compensation applications from independent contractors, gig workers, self-employed individuals, and people without sufficient work history to normally qualify for benefits.
This comes from a provision — part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), intended to provide benefits to these workers comparable to hourly and salaried workers. Individuals must provide documentation to verify COVID-19 caused their unemployment, such as notices saying one’s services are no longer needed due to virus-related shutdowns. Those looking to apply can provide documentation such as 1099 forms, invoices and pay stubs to show previous income.
Anyone who receives benefits through PUA will also receive the additional $600 a week offered by the CARES Act, and, just like for other workers, there is no additional form needed to receive this extra income.
Also on Saturday, Allegheny County reported 62 new cases of COVID-19, more than double the new cases reported Friday. The county explained that the jump was due to laboratories adding results in batches from over the past several days, a large amount of testing from communal living sites, and the inclusion of probable cases, referring to individuals who display symptoms and have been exposed to COVID-19 without actually testing positive yet. The county plans to include probable cases going forward to “better assess the level of community spread,” according to Saturday’s release.
The new reported cases come with two additional hospitalizations and four more deaths. To date, the county has reported 1,009 total known cases, 178 past and present hospitalizations, and 47 deaths.
People waiting in traffic for their rations of donated food from the Great Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in Duquesne on April 7. Wait times were around 2 hours while members of the Pennsylvania National Guard assisted food pantry staff. (Photo by Nick Childers/PublicSource)
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