Articles > Coronavirus > What Would You Do: If I’m A Self Employed Cosmetologist, Can I Apply For Unemployment?
April 2, 2020

What Would You Do: If I’m A Self Employed Cosmetologist, Can I Apply For Unemployment?

close formula

If I’m Self-Employed, Do I Qualify For Unemployment?

Here at BTC, we’re focused on helping you navigate through all the COVID-19 noise and bring you resources that can help you now! So, if you’re a stylist that is unable to work, can you receive unemployment benefits? We asked this question on our Instagram and Facebook Page and the good news is—YOU CAN! Scroll down to check out what the BTC community shared about this new assistance for self-employed stylists! 


Here Are Some Key Takeaways:

  • Unemployment for self-employed workers is a new benefit in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 


  • You can apply for unemployment benefits through your state’s unemployment agency website.


  • The CARES Act allows state unemployment agencies to work with the federal government benefits to help streamline the application process. Visit your state unemployment agency website and sign up for benefits as you normally would, federal benefits will automatically be added to your claim. 


  • Some states are not prepared for self-employed applications so be patient and keep trying!


  • Talk to a CPA or financial advisor if you have any specific questions about your finances. 



Under The CARES Act, Self-Employed Workers Are Eligible for Unemployment Benefits

The federal government has recently passed a stimulus package that expands unemployment benefits. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program allows self-employed or freelancer workers that typically do not qualify for unemployment benefits to receive them.


Read more about what the CARES Act means for hairdressers here!


Applications Are Regulated By State

“You can apply through your state’s unemployment website. Once you get into the application there are some questions where you can state that you are self-employed, reasons you are unemployed etc. For my state specifically, it had the option of a ‘public health disaster’ so that’s what I put 🤷🏼‍♀️.” – @colorfulworldofcass


“You have to apply through your state’s website. In NY, you have to apply for conventional unemployment and fill everything out. Then, you’re given a number to call and speak to a state rep about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (the new unemployment for self-employed workers). You’ll need your tax info from 2018 and 2019. You can try to apply online or just call and do it over the phone. It takes time but it will be worth it 🙌🏼.” – @bishstudiosalon


Join the conversation! Sign up for the BTC forum and receive state by state coronavirus updates—TAP HERE! 


Keep Checking And Don’t Give Up!

“In Pennsylvania, we are waiting for a separate application to be put out for us. They have asked that we PLEASE DO NOT use the normal unemployment application and to wait for the new one. Being that self-employed workers were never able to collect before; it is an entirely new system being put into place for us. It may take a week or so for things to be straightened out. Hang in there and help will be available for us soon! I’m assuming that all states will probably do something similar but I’m not sure! Our state reps have been posting a lot of updates on Facebook, maybe see if your state reps are doing the same!” – @alyssascutt


“It will take a bit of time to update the system as they all need to include an option for self-employed folks. Keep looking back! I am in WA state and we know we will get it, but there is no way to apply right now.” – @robin­­_modifyhair


“You should be able to apply once states get their unemployment system set up to accept self-employed workers. Keep checking your state’s Department of Labor website and also keep checking in with your State Representatives. Mine have been pretty helpful and informative.” – Kate Koch


“From my understanding with almost every state, they are currently waiting on guidance from the federal government. If you apply using the current form, you will get denied, as it is not set up to allow for self-employment. Be patient, and check back in with your state’s unemployment website.” – Cara Apsey




Be Sure To Ask A Professional If You Have Questions!

“Be very careful! My suggestion would be is talk to your accountant or CPA. With all the technical stuff that’s going on, I suggest seeking help to know how to share the information properly. This way, you don’t end up doing something that’s not in your best interest.” – Karen Carmon


“My accountant is concerned for independent contractors also. Since we’re normally unable to get unemployment but can receive the benefits under the current conditions, how much will we be required to pay back after this is over? Nothing is free! Not that we’re ungrateful but we should know if we’re paying something back.” – Tina Guernsey


If You Are A Salon Owner or LLC, There May Be Different Options

  • Salon owners and small business owners are able to apply for SBA-backed small business loans to help with finances.


  • If you are an LLC, speak with your financial advisor to help you determine what benefits are appropriate for you.


For more information on what the stimulus package means for salon owners, click here!


Read how you can make money while in quarantine now!