U.S. Government COVID-19 Support for Freelancers

The U.S. federal government has taken steps to provide economic relief in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic and the toll it has taken on the workforce.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Individuals who have lost work may be eligible for unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 outbreak, even if they are self-employed as a freelancer or otherwise, under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

If you are a freelancer and wish to apply for unemployment insurance and need proof of earnings, Upwork can provide you with a copy of any 1099-K or 1099-MISC form that has been issued to you.

If you did not receive a 1099-K or 1099-MISC form from us for 2019 (we only send one when certain IRS criteria is met), we can issue you one upon request. Please contact Upwork Support.

To learn more about PUA, visit the U.S. Department of Labor or your local state department of labor.

Payment Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

In addition, some small businesses that use Upwork as clients or freelancers may be eligible for a Payment Protection Program (PPP) loan or an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Freelancers may be eligible for loans under both the PPP and EIDL program as sole proprietors even if they do not have a formal legal entity.

The PPP provides small loans to small businesses in order to continue to pay their payrolled employees, independent contractors, mortgage, rent or utilities. PPP loans will be forgiven if used for an authorized purpose under the terms of the loan.

The EIDL program provides loans of up to $10,000 to small businesses who are facing decreased revenue due to COVID-19.

Upwork will provide any documentation we can in order to support your application, if you choose to make one. For complete details, see the Small Business Administration’s information on PPP and information on EIDL.

 

Are there any funds available?

On April 23,2020, Congress added additional funding for the Payment Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. It is not clear how long these funds will be available and we suggest applying as soon as possible.

What is the Payment Protection Program (PPP) and/or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program?

The U.S. federal government has taken steps to provide economic relief in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic and the toll it has taken on the workforce. Some small businesses that use Upwork as clients or freelancers may be eligible for a loan under the Payment Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. The PPP provides small loans to small businesses in order to continue to pay their payrolled employees, independent contractors, mortgage, rent or utilities. PPP loans will be forgiven if used for an authorized purpose under the terms of the loan. The EIDL program provides loans of up to $10,000 to small businesses who are facing decreased revenue due to COVID-19.

Upwork will provide any documentation we can in order to support your application, if you choose to make one. For complete details, see the Small Business Administration’s information on PPP and information on EIDL, or reach out to your own advisors.

What about other countries?

These programs are based in the U.S. only: Payment Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). If you need any further assistance with documentation for local programs, please let us know and we will be happy to help.

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