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Washington, D.C. government relief guide

To help drivers and delivery people during the COVID-19 crisis, we're gathering up-to-date information about government financial support that you may be eligible for. In this guide, we'll answer important questions and share resources to help you apply.¹

Before you get started, please remember that the official sources of information are state and federal government agencies. We know this process can be complicated and confusing, especially because no one has all the answers yet—including us. We’ll continue to revise this guide as we receive additional information. Check back here over the coming weeks for updates.

Not in Washington, D.C.? Go here to find information for other locations.

 

Last updated: May 20, 2020

There are a few types of government financial support available, many of them new for independent contractors like you.

The US government has passed legislation that may mean you’re eligible for government financial assistance. You’ve probably heard this referred to as the CARES Act. Under this new legislation, you may be able to access financial relief for lost earnings due to the COVID-19 pandemic through:

  • Direct financial aid available to individuals who have lost income
  • Loans or emergency cash advances that may be forgivable
  • Paid leave tax credits

In some cases, it may take several weeks before state agencies process your applications and claims since these programs and benefits are still developing.

The federal government has made it possible for independent contractors who have lost income due to COVID-19 to access the same kinds of benefits that states traditionally provide to workers who receive W-2s and file for unemployment insurance. You may have heard this federally funded direct financial assistance referred to as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

How much could I receive?

The total amount of financial aid you could receive will depend on your individual circumstances, including your state's calculation and your current and historic earnings. If you qualify for PUA, you'll receive at least $600 per week, for every week you qualify for relief, for the weeks ending April 4, 2020 through July 25, 2020.

For how long am I eligible to receive direct financial aid?

Under PUA, you may be able to get up to 39 weeks of PUA payments, until December 31, 2020, from the federal government.

Are payments retroactive?

PUA can go back as far as February 2, 2020, if you qualify and can document a loss of income due to COVID-19 earlier than your filing date.

How can I tell if I’m eligible?

You may be eligible for PUA if you’ve lost income due to COVID-19. If you have another source of income where you receive a W-2 form for your taxes, you should check with your state about how to properly file because you may be eligible for regular unemployment insurance. Check the FAQ section below for more details about the COVID-19-related circumstances that might make you eligible for this assistance.

You can learn more through the federal Department of Labor website.

The Washington D.C. government is currently accepting applications from independent contractors for PUA. To prepare for the application:

Have your Social Security number or Taxpayer Identification Number ready

Download your tax summaries

  • Go to your driver dashboard
  • Click on the Tax Information tab
  • Download your monthly and (if applicable) yearly summaries

If applicable, download your 1099 form(s) from the 2019 tax year

  • Go to your driver dashboard
  • Click on the Tax Information tab
  • Download your 1099-K and 1099-MISC (due to reporting thresholds, you may not have received one or both of these)

Collect documentation on any other sources of income

Visit this website to begin your application

 

If you’re applying based on lost income as an independent contractor, you should follow your state’s instructions for independent contractors submitting PUA claims, where available.

To avoid unnecessary delays, it's always a good idea before submitting any application to make sure that you are up to date with any legal requirements, including timely filed and paid taxes wherever applicable.

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has 2 programs that are new for independent contractors under the CARES Act. We’ll describe them below, but you can always learn more about these relief options through the SBA website.

Please be aware: due to high demand and limited funds, these programs may be difficult to access.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

This program allows participating banks and lenders to offer forgivable loans to small businesses and independent contractors.

 

  • How much could I receive? You could be eligible for a PPP loan up to 2.5 times your average monthly net self-employment income over the last 12 months.
  • Would I have debt to pay back? The PPP loan and interest are 100% forgivable if you separately apply to be excused from repaying the loan and can document that you used it for authorized purposes. You can apply for loan forgiveness at the end of your loan period (the eight weeks following initial disbursement) by completing this application provided by the SBA and submitting to your lender.
  • How can I apply?
    • PayPal* is currently processing applications for SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans for independent contractors. Learn more and begin your application here. To apply through PayPal, you will need:
      • Prepared 1040 Schedule C from 2019 (even if you haven’t yet filed with the IRS)
      • 1099-MISC from 2019, If you did not receive a 1099-MISC due to reporting thresholds, you will not be able to complete an application through PayPal at this time
      • Copy of a bank statement from 2020
      • Other documentation may be requested
    • There are many lenders processing PPP loan applications. Here are some resources for finding a lender:
      • Ask your bank or credit union whether they’re processing PPP loan applications for independent contractors. This program is optional for lenders, so not all financial institutions are processing these applications.
      • Find an approved lender using this SBA tool. Once you find an approved lender, ask what documentation you’ll need to apply. Some lenders may not require a 1099-MISC.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance

This program allows small businesses and independent contractors to apply for an emergency advance as part of an application for a non-forgivable EIDL loan.

 

  • How much could I receive? The emergency advance can be up to $10,000, but the expected distribution per applicant is likely much lower.
  • Would I have debt to pay back? The EIDL loan will need to be repaid, plus interest. The emergency advance is a grant that will not need to be repaid, regardless of whether you ultimately receive an EIDL loan.
  • How can I apply? You can apply for a loan through the EIDL program on the SBA website. The US Chamber of Commerce also has a helpful step-by-step guide.

 
We think it’s important for you to know that there are a few types of government assistance available, some of which may prevent you from receiving others. For example, if you receive a PPP loan, you may not be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for the duration of your loan. This can be a complicated and tough decision, so we encourage you to take time to consider what is best for you.

Signed on March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides tax credits to small businesses and independent contractors for leave due to circumstances related to COVID-19. This means that you may be able to claim paid leave tax credits that could lower your tax liability or even make you eligible for a refund.

What circumstances qualify?

If you’re unable to work due to self-quarantine or because you or a family member are sick, or because you must provide child care due to closures caused by COVID-19, you could be eligible. Leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, could qualify.

How much would the tax credits be worth?

The amount of tax credits will vary based on location and circumstance. More information is available from the IRS under the “Overview of Paid Sick Leave Refundable Credit,” “Overview of Paid Family Leave Refundable Credit,” and “Specific Provisions Related to Self-Employed Individuals” (FAQ 60-66) sections.

How can I receive the tax credits?

If you have additional questions about this program or your tax circumstances, you should speak to a licensed tax adviser.

No one has all the answers right now, but here are some helpful resources from Uber, our partners, and government agencies.

¹The material provided on this page does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, financial, tax, or other advice. It is for informational purposes only. Please consult your attorney or financial adviser to obtain advice with respect to your particular situation. For your convenience, this page contains links to third-party websites. Uber is not responsible for the content in those third-party sites or the products or services offered through them. While we will make every effort to keep this site up to date, for the most current information please see the respective governmental or organizational sites.