Many who are self-employed or independent contractors have been waiting anxiously to apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) passed through the federal CARES Act. The Connecticut Department of Labor has outlined a process that those who fall into this category can follow.
Step 1: Beginning today, self-employed individuals, gig economy workers and independent contractors can go to www.filectui.com. Click the blue button and fill out the application. Once submitted, you will get an email confirming submission. Next, you should receive a 2nd email indicating that your claim is being processed. Then, by U.S. Mail, you will received a determination indicating that you are eligible for $0.00 in weekly benefits. This is an important step in the PUA process clearly acknowledging that you are not eligible for state benefits. This will qualify you for the federal program. You will have the option to choose the payment method via direct deposit or debit card. Direct deposit is the fastest method. If you are unsure of what you’ve chosen, you can go back in and hit the green button to determine your option.
IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU HAVE ALREADY FILED, YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO THROUGH THIS PROCESS AGAIN. YOU HAVE COMPLETED STEP ONE AND CAN PREPARE FOR STEP 2.
Step 2: Next week, by mid-week, you’ll go back to www.filectui.com to check the website for a red button labeled ‘PUA’ (keep checking, but they’re hoping midweek). You will click that button and be asked for documentation of earnings so, have ready your 2019 IRS forms (W-2, 1099, Schedule C). There will be a tutorial to help people through this process. If you can answer ‘yes’ as unemployed due to lack of work, that you are self-employed and have an EIN number, the system will be fully automated for you. If you don’t have these tax documents, you can self-attest. These folks will require an audit and manual determination which will take a bit longer. Either way, you will eventually receive a monetary determination mailed to you. The early payments in a fully automated system could be received by the end of next week. All eligible will include the plus up of $600/week also passed in the CARES Act. They will also be retroactive to the date last worked.
If you require assistance from the DOL, there are two lines up and running: 860-263-6975 and 203-455-2653.
If there is someone who has absolutely no way of connecting to an online system, customer service on these lines will take the information of that person and have an experienced claim taker process that person’s claim over the phone. This is only for individuals with absolutely no way of accessing these online systems.
They have processed 381,000 claims since mid-March totaling over $330 million. Again, this is 2 years’ worth of claims in a little over a month using systems that were simply ill-equipped to handle this volume. $83 million of that is from the $600/week FPUS program.
This frequently asked questions guide is excellent, and updated multiple times per week: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/DOLCOVIDFAQ.PDF.