How to Apply for MA Unemployment if you’re Self-Employed


It’s open!

Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for the Self-Employed using this link.

You’ll want a guess about your income from 2019, using your GROSS income, the top line on your Schedule C. You can estimate it.

You’ll need your driver’s license on hand. You’ll need a check handy to give them the routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit.
You may need “wage records”, which includes 1099s and W-2s. I’ve got them all scanned into Sharefile if you need them for all of my clients who dropped off information before March 24th.
Per a source: “Unemployment is calling people back 7 days a week until 8 PM. Please pick up! 617-626-6800 on Caller ID.”
When filling it out, don’t mention working in other states if you’re just someone who was passing through (like a performer): you aren’t eligible to file in any others.
They’ll ask about your earnings between 3-22 and 4-18: are you still bringing in income from something? Unemployment is subsistence, you may not benefit from it if you’re still getting income, even if it’s much reduced.
There are two other programs, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program that may be more appropriate for some of you.

The EIDL is really a low-cost loan that can help with a cash flow crunch. There’s a small advance possible that is forgivable. I’m hearing they are forgiving basically $1K per “employee”, including self-employed people. It’s worth applying for.Apply here: https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/articles/EIDL_Information_and_Documentation_-_3-30-2020_FINAL_2_pm.pdf

For the PPP, see my email directly to clients, “COVID relief – news you can use as a self-employed person/business owner.” Note that this would disqualify you from unemployment as these loans – with their forgivable elements – are designed to replace your paycheck, meaning you’re essentially not unemployed. Here’s a nice article about the new funding.
So if you’re making income but it’s just reduced, I’d do the PPP. If you’re completely out of work I ‘d go straight for the Unemployment application instead.