How Real Estate Agents Can Get Unemployment Benefits During COVID-19

The $2 trillion CARES act passed by congress extends unemployment benefits to independent contractors, but there has been much confusion surrounding the application process. Here are the latest guidelines:  

New federal law allows states to extend benefits to self-employed workers, and to provide an extra $600 per week as well as an additional 13 weeks of benefits. All states have signed agreements with the Department of Labor as of March 28, 2020. Retroactive payments will be received back to the eligibility date or the date the agreement was signed, whichever came later.    To find out if you qualify for unemployment, you must first apply through your state’s unemployment insurance program. 

When filing for unemployment, you must state that you are self-employed. Do not claim that your real estate firm is your employer. Agents are independent contractors and are therefore not “employed” by anyone.    To file as an independent contractor in New York State, click here


Additionally, agents can apply for the Small Business Association's forgivable loans of up to $10,000 as independent contractors starting April 10th. For more info, see The Real Deal's article.

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