As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to prevent rideshare drivers from working and making money, some are having trouble accessing unemployment benefits.
Multiple rideshare drivers shared their stories with CBS2 in Chicago. All applied for unemployment benefits but were told they did not qualify and were denied.
According to an employment and labor attorney Jeremy Glen, “[The] denial is the first step in qualifying for the federal unemployment benefits because that program is designed for people who are not eligible under the state program. In Illinois, we’re hearing that will be up and running the week of May 11.”
According to Uber and Lyft, both companies are actively reaching out to all states to make sure drivers get access to federal money through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. Through that, a driver could receive a flat rate of $600 per week.
It’s possible, however, that drivers could continue to struggle to access benefits even when funds through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. While applying for benefits is usually a one-step process with someone classified as an employee, it’s a two-step process for gig workers and the self-employed because they have to be denied by their state before being eligible for federal assistance.
According to CNBC, approximately 22 million people had filed unemployment claims in the four weeks through April 11. Now that we are in May, that number is even higher. Ultimately, the number of claims delays the amount of time it takes to start receiving payments. It’s possible, however, that when the first checks are sent out, they will be larger to compensate for the delay if states choose to pay benefits retroactively.
While it’s predicted that rideshare numbers will continue to be low throughout the pandemic and even as states begin to open back up, there are still opportunities for rideshare drivers to deliver food and other items through Uber and Lyft. Both companies have expanded their delivery services in an attempt to make up for lost review during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn more about the impact the coronavirus is having on the rideshare industry, visit our blog. If you have a legal question regarding a rideshare accident or incident, we are still here to guide you through your options—even if that means meeting virtually for the sake of social distancing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.