Freelancers Can Claim Unemployment Benefits if Affected by COVID-19

Thanks to the efforts of the Freelancers Union, the self-employed will now be eligible for the same benefits as everyone else.

The Coronavirus has had a significant impact on workers across the United States, with many unfortunately losing their jobs. However, the government recently passed a stimulus bill that would guarantee protection to many workers across the country. All seemed well until the Freelancers Union noticed that freelancers and the self-employed were not included in the deal that would provide insurance, unemployment, and access to the one-time income payments. The Freelancers Union group took matters into their own hands, and thanks to their work, freelance photographers, journalists, content creators, and more will now be able to apply for the same benefits as everyone else if they have lost work due to the Coronavirus. Join us after the break for the details.

According to an email we received from Rafael Espinalm, the President and Executive Director of the Freelancers Union, Senator Chuck Schumer listened to the Freelancers Union and took their concerns on board. Thanks to his office pushing this issue, freelance workers are now eligible to receive unemployment insurance as provided for in the federal stimulus bill, which passed last Friday.


The email states that the criteria to qualify for unemployment insurance varies wildly from state to state. Because of this, step-by-step guides on how to apply in your locale cannot be detailed. Freelancers impacted by COVID-19 are instructed to research their state’s policies and encouraged to apply for benefits as soon as possible.

As you can imagine, the Freelancers Union is hearing stories of incredibly long wait times due to the sheer amount of people applying for benefits at this time, and this is why you should apply as soon as you can.


The stimulus bill allows for retroactive benefits back to Jan. 27, 2020, so you can be paid for the time since you lost work, not only from when your claim was received, which is huge. If you would like to see a full breakdown of the benefits you may be eligible for, check out the official Freelancers Union website. The Freelancers group has also set up a freelancers relief fund to provide financial assistance to self-employed workers who are in dire straits. If you have anything to spare during this time, the Freelancers Union asks you to kindly consider making a donation

Has the Coronavirus impacted you? Have you seen a large downtick in work? What are you doing to try and overcome the situation? Let us know in the comment section below.

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.