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In this Post: I never thought I’d be applying for unemployment, yet here I sit on hold for four hours with my state department.
Never in a million years did I think I would be applying for unemployment. I mean, I LIKE working! I thrive on work! So the idea of sitting around without employment never occurred to me.
But then again, the idea of a global pandemic that rocked the entire human race never occurred to me either.
When everyone was scrambling to buy toilet paper, I was remembering my mom’s Y2K closet—the one she had stocked full of ramen, dried beans, and yes, toilet paper. The content of which was never touched until I headed off to college with a year’s worth of mac and cheese and other tasty goods any college kid would be proud to have. I was the girl to come to for peanut butter!
So, when the magnitude of this all set in, it was devastating!
Being a small business owner, a million questions and scenarios played out in my mind.
How long would this last?
Would my people still be around when we were ready to reopen?
And the big one, how would I continue to be able to support myself?
Now, I am in a little bit of a different situation than many small business owners. You see, I am an employee of my S-Corp. Thus, I have been paying into unemployment on myself for years. And in theory, I am eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
I Never Thought I’d Be Applying for Unemployment
But that doesn’t mean that I wanted to apply for them. I mean, to me, that always seemed like something lazy people did. And I am certainly not lazy! But, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. And I would definitely classify a global pandemic as extraordinary.
Therefore, I swallowed my pride and got on the Colorado Unemployment website. Only to get kicked out. And then kicked out again. And then again. Until finally, one night really late, my application went through.
(Currently I am waiting on the correspondence they are supposed to send to my PO box. It’s been 14 days since I initially applied. I was supposed to get a pin # in the mail within a week. But at least my application was submitted.)
I signed a moment of relief, knowing that while I wouldn’t be receiving my full monthly wage, at least I would be receiving something.
But then I got sad. I got sad because I thought of all the massage therapists out there who HAD NOT been paying into unemployment on themselves and wouldn’t be eligible to receive unemployment.
So, I got busy writing representatives. Pleading with them to understand the dramatic tole this would take on massage therapists across the country.
And mine and countless other voices were heard. On Wednesday, March 25th, the Senate announced some excellent news for small business owners and independent contractors!
Good News for Small Business Owners and Independent Contractors
They passed a $2 trillion stimulus package to help alleviate some of the financial burden Americans are to be facing during the COVID-19 crisis.
The amazingly beautiful thing about this stimulus package is that it covers most massage entrepreneurs, even if they have not been paying into unemployment.
So, if you are a small business owner or independent contractor who has not been paying into unemployment, you will not be hung out to dry. There is relief.
They are basing the amount you will receive on last year, 2019’s taxes. So, if you were planning on taking advantage of the extended deadline of July 15th to file your taxes, you may want to rethink that decision.
Now, if you are nowhere near being ready to file for 2019, don’t fret, they will use your 2018 numbers to determine your payment. If you still have yet to file for 2018, you are going to want to get that done as soon as possible to avoid payment delays.
In addition, part of that stimulus package is a flat payout everyone will receive, amount based on income. Anyone making $75,000 or less will receive the full amount. As long as the IRS has your bank account number from previous transactions, it will automatically get deposited into your account. They estimate in about three weeks.
Navigating Your State’s Unemployment Site
As you begin to navigate your state’s unemployment site, know that they are bogged down!
They need a little bit of time to implement these new policies. Therefore, be patient. Wait a few days to contact them. In my state of Colorado, they said that they wouldn’t have everything for the self-employed up and running until Thursday. They asked that self-employed and independent contractors please wait to call or apply until after Thursday.
Another tip I’ve learned with the unemployment site is to log in early in the morning or late at night. This is when fewer people are trying to navigate this swift and unexpected change in employment!
And while I never thought I’d be applying for unemployment, here I sit with thousands of others trying to navigate this system for the first time in my life. Thanks coronavirus!
Good luck filing! (In this current moment, I’ve been calling every 5 minutes for 4 hours to try to get an answer to a problem with my claim.)
And until next time, stay healthy!
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008