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Rideshare Drivers, Independent Contractors Being Denied Unemployment Benefits

CHICAGO (CBS)-- Rideshare drivers and other independent contractors are being denied unemployment benefits they were expecting.

Daphine Davis, is the wife of rideshare driver and said when she went to fill out their information she was told they did not qualify.

"That didn't make sense to me," she said.

Her husband Damon Davis drives for Uber and Lyft as his main source of income. He stopped driving in March because of coronavirus concerns and his pre-existing health conditions.

He applied for unemployment through the Illinois Department of Employment Security and was denied.

CBS 2 spoke to employment and labor attorney Jeremy Glenn to find out why.

"The irony of this is the denial is actually the first step in qualifying for the federal unemployment benefits because that program is designed for people who are not eligible under the state program," Glenn said. In Illinois, we're hearing that it will be up and running the week of May 11."

Glenn said if an individual applied and was denied, hopefully they will be automatically enrolled in the federal program when it launches on May 11.

CBS 2 reached out to Lyft and Uber who said they're actively reaching out to all states to make sure drivers get access to the federal money. A flat rate of $600 dollars a week could be given, through what's called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistant Program.

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