How Uber and Lyft drivers can benefit from the $2 trillion CARES act

Author photoBy Jonnie Cohen

Both Uber and Lyft have made promises about 14 day paid leave for any rideshare driver who has tested positive for COVID-19. But let’s be honest, there’s a clear shortage of COVID-19 testing and the impact COVID-19 is having on the gig worker is far from covered by a driver testing positive. The demand for ridesharing has significantly dropped as a result of state lockdowns. Riders aren’t using the app so even “healthy” drivers (one who hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19) are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

This article will help rideshare drivers/gig workers understand how they fit into the $2 trillion relief (CARES Act) bill that the Government just passed.

A little background on the CARES bill:
CARES Act is an acronym: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

This plan will accomplish two main pillars of relief for Americans:

1. Push assistance financially to American citizens via direct checks to households in the middle/lower income levels. The details of how this will be delivered to each American is not clear but they say that to qualify you MUST have submitted at least your 2018 taxes. This payment will amount to $1,200 for most American adults among other payments. Please view the image below to better understand how this will impact you.

2. Also an extended unemployment insurance plan for workers who were fired during the crisis for four months of full pay. Generally, unemployment insurance benefits only last for 3 months. The extension for unemployment is accompanied by an additional $600 per week (your regular state unemployment fee plus $600 from the federal government). According to the law, it’s normally impossible for someone who is “self-employed” (which includes gig workers/rideshare drivers) to apply for unemployment. This relief bill will create something called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and will last through the end of this year. This program will help individuals who lose work as a direct result of this public health emergency, including (but not limited to) gig workers and rideshare drivers. To apply for this unemployment crisis extension, file for unemployment like you would regularly do through your own official state unemployment application. Click here to learn more

Rideshare Drivers and COVID-19

It’s a difficult time to be in any industry right now, but even more so if you rely on gig economy services that directly interface with customers, such as being a rideshare driver. If you’re considering becoming a rideshare driver during this pandemic, you can check out our article on how to do so during a crisis. In addition, we’ve given some thought to how COVID-19 will affect the gig economy overall, including ridesharing.

Best of luck during these difficult times!