Since this whole COVID-19 shelter-in-place began in Illinois, my friend, and hairdresser has constantly been on my mind. Sure I really need to see her smiling face and have her hands and scissors work their magic on my struggling tresses, but mostly I am worried about how she is holding up. She is self-employed, owns her shop, and is usually booming with customers. I've often wondered what financial help is available to her, and so many other self-employed workers in Illinois, and now I have my answer. reports that beginning on May 11th, a new portal will be available on the Illinois Department of Employment Security's website that will allow self-employed workers to apply for assistance from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, or PUA.

So, how will this work exactly? According to an article on;

Workers who believe they may be eligible for new federal benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, must first apply for regular unemployment insurance before applying for benefits under PUA when a new application portal opens on May 11, 2020 via the IDES website.

PUA provides a total of 39 weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits to individuals not typically eligible for unemployment benefits, including independent contractors and self-proprietors, but have become unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19. This portion of the benefits expansion package has not yet been implemented. Further details about the program, how to apply, and eligibility requirements will be made as soon as they have been finalized at

Upon acceptance, PUA claims will be backdated to the first day of the applicants COVID-19 related unemployment, (no earlier that February, 2, 2020).

For more information on this assistance, please visit


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