CHICAGO — After waiting for more than six weeks, gig workers in Illinois are finally being encouraged to apply for unemployment benefits.
The CARES Act, passed by Congress late last month, ensured gig workers would have access to unemployment benefits — but state employment agencies were not set up to process these workers, since they were previously not eligible for such benefits.
On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker said 1099 or gig workers whose businesses have been shuttered by the stay at home order can apply for unemployment benefits starting now. If they’re ruled ineligible because they’re a contract worker, their applications will be automatically moved to the new system so they can be processed in early to mid-May.
When the new system is up and running by May 11, Employment Services will begin processing these claims. Pritzker predicted such workers would start receiving funds in mid-May.
When asked why other states are able to process these payments already, Prizker said Illinois will not receive federal money until May. Other states might be able to dip into a rainy day fund to pay such workers sooner, but Illinois does not have such funds, he said.
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