Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
After weeks of waiting, independent contractors, gig economy workers and self-employed New Mexicans will be eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits beginning Sunday.
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions announced Wednesday that the application, offered through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, will be made available to a wide range of New Mexicans who have lost work or become unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The list of workers eligible to receive benefits includes: the self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, church employees, nonprofit and governmental workers and other groups, according to a news release from the state workforce department.
The federal CARES Act includes funding for expanded unemployment benefits for self-employed workers, who had previously been ineligible for benefits.
Applying for assistance is a two-step process that can begin immediately. First, applicants should file a regular unemployment insurance claim to determine if they’re eligible for regular benefits. If they are not, they will be cleared to apply through the PUA program, according to the release.
From there, applicants will receive an application link that will appear on their “Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims System” homepage, beginning on Sunday.
Those who have already filed a claim for regular UI benefits do not need to file a new claim, according to the release. New applicants need their income information for their most recently completed and filed tax year in order for the agency to determine their PUA weekly benefit amount.
The state workforce department is encouraging New Mexicans to begin filing claims online at www.jobs.state.nm.us.