For the first time, Uber drivers, personal trainers, babysitters — all non-traditional wage earners that the government estimates to be at least a third of the American workforce — could apply for unemployment benefits after the CARES Act signed into law on March 27.
But in at least 11 states as of Friday, these Americans hadn’t received any kind of unemployment payments. In nine states, they hadn’t even been able to apply for it.
This news comes on the heels of record-breaking unemployment for April, with at least 20.5 million jobs lost.
In New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Arkansas, it’s unclear if any gig workers or independent contractors have received unemployment benefits, even though tens of thousands of applications have been accepted.
And in Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Nevada and Ohio, there is no way for these self-employed Americans to even for unemployment. More than a month after the CARES Act passed, these states do not have the online portals up and running.
States have had to build new systems to approve people for this federally-funded unemployment — known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA — and there’s a slew of reasons they’ve been bogged down. Some were waiting for federal guidance, while others were waiting on tech infrastructure.