Self-employed can now apply for unemployment in California

Californians who are self-employed -- but lost their jobs because of the coronavirus shutdown -- can start applying for unemployment benefits starting on Tuesday.

According to the California Employment Development Department, those who are covered include independent contractors, self-employed, people without a long work history, (18 months or less) and people who have exhausted their regular benefits.

People who apply must certify that their business and livelihood have been impacted by COVID-19, for one of the following reasons:

- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.

- You are unable to work because a health care provider advised you to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.

- A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

- You are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

- A child or other person in the household for whom you have primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 and the school or facility care is required for you to work.

- You became the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.

- You have to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.

- Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.

- You were scheduled to start a job that is now unavailable as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

- You are unable to reach the place of employment as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

- If you work as an independent contractor with reportable income, you may also qualify for PUA benefits if you are unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited your ability to continue performing your customary work activities, and has thereby forced you to stop working.

They'll be able to receive benefits that include a weekly minimum of $167, plus another $600 a week from March to July.

A Bay Area data analytics startup says that the extra assistance will be needed.

"Our forecast for the Bay Area is that the unemployment is, at its peak, related to coronavirus, the economic impact will be 27 percent," said Doug Milnes, a data analytics chief with

More than 20 percent of California's workforce has already filed for jobless benefits since the middle of last month.

Experts say the problem could become worse, as more companies are expected to file for bankruptcy.

"If people are able to put groceries on the table, it could make the possibility of a protracted recession a bit less," Milnes said.

These unemployment benefits for the self-employed, are good for up to a total of 39 weeks.

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Allie Rasmus is a reporter forKTVU.  Email Allie at and follow her on Twitter@arasmusKTVU