Nearly a month after the federal government expanded jobless aid to gig workers with the CARES Act amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Uber and Lyft drivers are struggling to receive unemployment benefits.
A number of Uber and Lyft drivers spoke to CBS News to share their struggles with receiving the unemployment benefits they’re owed. Many of them have run into issues with their rideshare company and unemployment office making contradicting statements.
According to Ruthie Como, an Uber driver from Florida, she first applied for benefits at the end of March. Uber wouldn’t provide her with a phone number for the state to verify her driver’s status and the state’s unemployment system didn’t recognize her driver status number. She is still waiting to receive benefits.
A Lyft driver from San Diego, Kristie Continue, applied for unemployment benefits online on March 25. She needed information regarding her quarterly earnings, but a Lyft customer service representative refused to give her that information. Instead, she calculated the information herself using the Lyft app and submitted her application. Ten days later she was denied unemployment.
According to Steve Johnson, a full-time Uber and Lyft driver who runs a popular driver resource online, he estimates speaking with 100 to 150 rideshare drivers in the past two weeks. Not one person has received any unemployment benefits.
Even with countless rideshare driver testimony, Uber and Lyft have denied stalling or doing anything to prevent drivers from receiving benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, they suggest it has to do with outdated state unemployment systems.
According to a Lyft spokesperson, “We’re working with states across the country to help them get the data they need to process Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications quickly. We’re seeing states move toward a streamlined application process that we think will help those who are self-employed, so drivers can self-certify their eligibility and income.
In response to drivers’ struggles, an Uber representative had this to say: “Congress fully funded pandemic unemployment assistance for gig workers so that every state, many of which face historic deficits, could give these workers immediate financial support at no cost to their own state funds. We are actively reaching out to all states to try and work with them to get this support to our drivers and delivery people.”
For more information on how COVID-19 is impacting the rideshare industry, check out our blog. We stay up-to-date on all the latest Uber, Lyft, and e-scooter news. If you believe you’ve been injured because of the negligence of a rideshare driver, you may be able to pursue legal action against them or the company they work for. Contact the Rideshare Law Group today to learn more.