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Self-Employed, Independent Contractors Waiting for MO action on “CARES” Act

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SPRINGFIELD — Until Missouri’s government gets “guidance” from the US Labor Department, those workers may be not be approved for unemployment.

From March 21-28, Missouri saw over 104,000 workers file initial claims for unemployment. Over 89,000 of those were related to COVID-19 job losses.

It’s unclear how many of those people are waiting for their money to come in, but those who are self-employed or independent contractors may not even qualify yet.

KOLR10 spoke to a woman who runs a network that consults a large number of self-employed child care providers who run their business out of their homes. Her name, is Patricia Brand.

“I educate and keep childcare providers up to date with the health department regulations and licensing rules,” Brand says.  

That’s just one part of what Brand does, but she has had her hands full with that specific duty lately, thanks to the ever changing situation COVID-19 has caused.

The in-home child care workers she consults care for other people’s children right in their own homes, but Brand says some have underlying conditions that might put them at risk.

“We have several long-term licensed providers that are elderly, there are a few that are in their 70’s. There are some providers that have severe auto-immune disease, there’s a few that have severe lung issues,” says Brand.

That’s caused a few to close down their operations completely out of fear of getting sick. and

Brand says the worst part – is that some have already been denied unemployment until the federal stimulus package goes through.

When KOLR10 placed a call to the Missouri Unemployment hotline today at 417-895-6851, and pressed 9 for information on Coronavirus relief, the following message plays.

“On March 27th, President Trump signed HR 748: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, into law that will extend unemployment insurance benefits to potentially include independent contractors, self-employed, or business owners. The Missouri Department of Labor is currently awaiting USDL (United States Department of Labor) guidance so that it can fully implement the changes made by the new law,” the automated message says.

The message goes on to say that Missouri also won’t take action on the additional $600 add-on promised to unemployed workers until they receive guidance from the federal government either.

While Missouri’s government waits around to be told what to do, Brand says that puts workers in a bind.

“We’re just waiting for that to go through, so that (workers) can either appeal the process – because some have gotten denial letters already. So they’re waiting to see if they can file an appeal, (or) they’re waiting to see if that goes into effect, and they can get that process started,” Brand says. 

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