The state grant program unveiled this week for many small businesses is not available to Iowans who work alone, as the only employee in their business.
Iowa Workforce Development Authority director Beth Townsend says new federal benefits will be available. “The stimulus bill would provide unemployment benefits to the sole proprietors, to the self-employed, to those who are independent contractors (and) to our non-profits who do not normally qualify,” Townsend says.
In addition to regular unemployment benefits, those workers will also qualify for the extra $600 a week that are to be provided temporarily to unemployed Americans. Governor Reynolds says once the U.S. House passes the stimulus package today, which is expected, and unemployment checks start being delivered, her team will evaluate if there are still gaps that a state initiative could address.
“These are people that are impacted based on decisions that we made at the state level,” she says, “and we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can, in conjunction with our federal partners, to get them back up and going and get our economy cranking again.”
On Thursday, state officials announced nearly 41,000 Iowans applied for unemployment benefits last week. The governor calls that unprecedented, but not unexpected in the midst of this pandemic.
“In these uncertain times, we are taking extraordinary measures to preserve our way of life,” Reynolds says. “And this is not a typical downturn and I believe that once COVID is under control that will Iowa will make a strong comeback.”