Minnesota starts making unemployment payments to self-employed, independent contractors

Minnesota is among the first states to start making unemployment payments to those who are self-employed, independent contractors and others eligible that normally wouldn't qualify for unemployment benefits.

Friday, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced it began making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to these impacted workers. Self-employed hair stylists and nail technicians are among those who have been unable to earn income amid the stay-at-home order and have been waiting for financial relief.

These payments became possible under the CARES Act, which was signed into law in late March. DEED then had to create the infrastructure to create the new program and implement it.

"In less than one month, DEED’s unemployment insurance team has created the infrastructure to implement this brand new program, determine eligibility, prevent fraud and adapt to the unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove in a statement. “While it will take us some time to determine eligibility for everyone who applies for PUA, we are working closely with the Department of Revenue to expedite that process."


Those who have already applied for unemployment benefits will automatically be given a PUA account by DEED if they are determined to be eligible.

If you are self-employed or a 1099 worker and have not applied yet, click here to follow instructions to make your account easily identifiable as potentially eligible for PUA. 

DEED plans to be in touch with most who are eligible for PUA by the end of April. Those who receive the PUA benefits will also receive the $600 a week payment. The benefits will be backdated to when they first became eligible for payments due to COVID-19.

Due to the influx of those applying for unemployment, DEED is asking new applicants to sign up on an assigned day based on the last digit of their social security number. See below for the assignment chart.

Sign up schedule for unemployment benefits.

For more information, click here.