House Lawmakers Seek To Extend Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits To Mixed-Income Workers

As talks to extend unemployment benefits begin, many who did not qualify for the assistance are still left with questions on how they will survive during the pandemic. But not for long.

On Monday (July 20), a bill was introduced by Representatives Adam Schiff and Judy Chu. The two hope to pass the legislation, which would extend the coronavirus unemployment benefits to mixed-income workers that meet the criteria.

Mixed-income workers are mostly comprised of independent, freelance, contract, and gig workers. They are normally excluded from receiving unemployment benefits if they earn both a W-2 and self-employment income.

The bill, Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act, would allow such works to earn both of their regular incomes, while also opting to receive the coronavirus unemployment benefits.

To qualify, a mixed earner must have earned a minimum of $7,250 in self-employment income last year (2019), have lost their job due to COVID-19, and be eligible to receive their state’s unemployment benefits.

Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA, states that the new legislative “corrects an unintended flaw” in the initial relief bill, which “resulted in affected performers receiving a fraction of the weekly benefits they are owed as taxpayers.”

On March 27, 2020, Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill to help keep citizens afloat and prevent economic devastation. This included a $600 weekly bonus to people on unemployment, until July 31, unless extended.

The chairman, interim CEO and president of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr., believes that the new bill can bring assisting to the music industry, which is composed of employees with fluctuating income.   

“The pandemic has exposed that our nation’s unemployment system is not designed for all workers, like music creators, leaving so many vulnerable and without assistance,” he said in a statement. He added that the legislation “is a critical solution that will help so many in our community receive the fair benefits that they deserve.”

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