Nontraditional "gig" workers now able to receive unemployment benefits

Posted at 7:26 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 21:26:37-04

Many Gallatin County residents have a second job or, as some like to call it, a side hustle. But, as this pandemic started advancing, people were denied unemployment benefits for that second income, but now things have changed.

Patrick Lokken punches over 40 hours a week at his full time job.

“I’m a broadcast engineer. So, with a team of other people we drive around the state helping maintain PBS’s broadcast network,” Lokken explained.

But to help Lokken out financially, he also has a second job.

“I run Lokken Productions, so mostly live sound out of the filling station,” he said.

Having this second non traditional job is what classifies Lokken as a gig worker.

“I’d say it’s more of a side hustle, I guess. It’s about a fourth of my income or so. Roughly $1,000 bucks a month," Lokken explained.

Up until recently, gig workers were not able to file for unemployment benefits for their nontraditional jobs.

“I believe that’s because they are not employed by a company that’s paying into the unemployment insurance area,” explained Holly Wolfe with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

But now gig workers are eligible for unemployment benefits through the CARES ACT, which means Lokken could potentially get some of his income back.

“That would make the difference between my credit card bills going up every month versus going down. And how long is this sustainable? You can’t live off your credit card bill for 6 months,” Lokken said.

All gig workers have to do is file an application here .

So whether you’ve been denied before or maybe you haven’t applied at all, now is your opportunity to get unemployment benefits as a gig worker.