Self Employed, Independent Contractors Can Apply For Unemployment

CHEYENNE – The Department of Workforce Services (DWS) is now accepting UI applications from those individuals who do not qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance benefits, but do qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. This program, which is part of the CARES Act, provides up to 39 weeks of Unemployment Insurance benefits for those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, those who have exhausted their regular and extended benefits and others.

“The Unemployment Insurance team and Tata Consulting Services have worked very hard to build a system from the ground up to administer this funding,” said DWS Workforce Programs Administrator Holly McKamey Simoni. “The system is now open for applications from self-employed people and others who wouldn’t qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance. These benefits are retroactive, so the claims can be paid all the way back to the date a person first became unemployed due to COVID-19.”

Documentation of income will be required in order to receive more than the minimum $193 per week (and up to $508 per week maximum) benefit. Tax documents from 2019 are the simplest form of documentation. The documentation needs to be faxed or mailed to the UI division within 21 days of the date a claimant files for PUA.

Those who are likely eligible for the PUA compensation are recommended to have the following information before filing: 

  • Social Security Number 

For those who were were employed: 

  • 2019 W-2s for all employers worked for during that year 

For those who were self-employed: 

  • All 2019 Form 1099s; and 
  • Schedule C from 2019 tax return 
  • All 2019 Form 1065s 
  • General Ledger 
  • Check Register 
  • State Driver’s License or Identification card 
  • Your Alien Registration Documentation, if  not a U.S. citizen but are legally authorized to work in the United States 
  • Highest 2019 Quarter earnings (if this is not available, divide total net earnings for 2019 and divide by 4) 

All Unemployment Insurance claims, including those covered only through the CARES Act, should be filed online at Claims can be made by phone at 307-473-3789, but please be aware that hold times can be extremely long. 

Claimants using the online system may need to reset their PIN or passwords. Those needing to do so should send an email to: and include their name, the last four digits of their social security number, and their phone number.

For more information, including Frequently Asked Questions, please visit