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Schatz Releases New Guide To Help Independent Contractors, Gig Workers Access Federal Aid During Coronavirus Pandemic

For First Time, Hawai‘i Gig Economy Workers, Including Ride Sharing Drivers, Are Now Eligible For Unemployment Benefits; Schatz’s Resource Guide Is Available At Schatz.Senate.Gov/Coronavirus/Contract-Workers

HONOLULU – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) released a new guide to help independent contractors, freelancers, those who are self-employed, and gig-economy workers, including ride sharing drivers, better understand how to apply for new benefits established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“These federal programs can help thousands of Hawai‘i workers who are struggling to get by,” said Senator Schatz. “If you’re an independent contractor and need some help, please visit our website to learn more about what kind of federal support is available.”

Schatz’s guide includes information on eligibility and coverage for federal programs and benefits, including expanded unemployment assistance, small business loans, and tax relief.

The full guide for independent contractors is below and available at




The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provide the following resources for independent contractors to help them cover their financial needs during the public health emergency.

Unemployment Insurance

The CARES Act provides independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and gig-economy workers with access to unemployment benefits.  Income verification procedures for independent contractors have yet to be released.  Our office is monitoring these updates so please check back frequently for more details.  For more information, click here.

Direct Cash Payments

The CARES Act also directs the Department of the Treasury to make a one-time direct payment to individuals to help them recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  For more information, click here.

Small Business Assistance

Relief is also available for small businesses that have trouble covering payroll and operating expenses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The new law creates a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program, called the “Paycheck Protection Program” (PPP), that expands benefits and eligibility for SBA disaster loans, covers payments on existing SBA loans, and creates new tax credits to help cover the cost of paid leave and payroll.  For more information, click here.

Tax Relief for Individuals

The Internal Revenue Service and the CARES Act are providing several categories of tax relief for individuals to help them cover their financial needs during this time.  For more information, click here.