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The self-employed are now eligible for unemployment insurance

The Utah Department of Workforce Services building in Salt Lake City is pictured on Thursday, April 2, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s a first for the state of Utah: unemployment insurance for those who are self-employed.

Kevin Burt is director of the Unemployment Insurance Division for the Utah Department of Workforce Service (DWS). He unveiled the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program at a briefing today.

Unemployment insurance for the self-employed

Burt said not every self-employed person will qualify for unemployment insurance, but if you do, the benefit you receive is based on how much income you claimed in 2019.  The agency starts taking applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance next week.

It could take up to 30 days to receive your first check, but Burt said, it will be retroactive.  So you could collect money from when your business dried up due to coronavirus restrictions.

Also, Burt said, direct deposit and pre-loaded debit cards are not available with this program, only paper checks, via mail.

Go to for answers to frequently asked questions about the program, plus the latest case counts and more.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

State of Utah:

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States