Arts Alert: Take Action to Help Freelancers and Creative Workers

Take Action to Help Freelancers and Creative Workers


The Mixed Earner Unemployment Assistance Act of 2020 fixes a flaw in federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that excludes freelancers and creative workers. 

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The Mixed Earner Unemployment Assistance Act of 2020 fixes a flaw in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that excludes entrepreneurs, seasonal workers, gig workers, and local musicians, singers, actors, writers, photographers, and other artists who make enough W2-employee income to qualify for any amount of traditional state unemployment benefits, no matter how small.   

Congress intended for the PUA program to protect self-employed Americans who are without work due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.  However, the CARES Act has fallen short in assisting these Mixed Earner workers. An entrepreneur, for example, who made $4,000 in W2 income and $80,000 in self-employment income is stuck with a weekly benefit amount that is based on the W2 income alone. In New York, for example, this person’s weekly benefit could be $104 instead of the $504 they should be eligible for.

This discrepancy is costing these taxpayers thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars in critical benefits during a global financial crisis.

This legislation will permit states to accept federal funds to help qualifying Mixed Earners transition into the federal PUA program so that, going forward, all of their income is considered for a new weekly benefit calculation.

There is no end date in sight for this public health crisis. It is not too late for Congress to improve the financial situation of Mixed Earners. Contact your members of Congress to tell them to fix this flaw in the CARES Act to make certain Mixed Income earners get the aid they need to pay their bills and feed their families.