Gig Workers Wait for Long-Promised Relief

By: - May 1, 2020 12:00 am

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As the pain continues for jobless people around the country — with many unable to claim benefits because of jammed application systems — gig workers in many states are only just now allowed to join the quest for benefits.

California, Colorado, Connecticut and Oregon are among the states accepting applications from gig workers this week after finally revamping their processes. Those workers have endured six dire weeks; their livelihoods ended in mid-March. They’re joining a crush of millions of jobless still waiting for help.

“There’s something wrong about this,” said Shelley Hall, a freelance art appraiser in Bend, Oregon. Hall’s been trying for weeks to apply for money she knows she’s entitled to get based on March federal legislation. “They keep saying, ‘There’s money for small business, there’s help for the little guy,’ but there really hasn’t been,” she said.

Other states have seen renewed snafus in a fresh wave of applications by contract workers — Michigan’s site shut down for six hours April 13, the day gig workers were first allowed to apply. About half the new claims in Colorado last week were from gig workers.

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Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson

Tim Henderson covers demographics for Stateline. He has been a reporter at the Miami Herald, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Journal News.