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Mixed Income Workers Receive Less Pandemic Assistance Under CARES Act

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- Relief may be on the way for mixed income workers in California.

Those who file both W2 and 1099 earnings — many of whom are in the entertainment industry — have been receiving smaller unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, which only considers W2 earnings.

Like many in Hollywood, Hope Shapiro is a working actress with a side job that often pays more than her acting job. While her acting jobs are considered W2 earnings, her other other earnings are filed through a 1009-ED.

"My 1099 income is probably 75 to 80 percent of my income," she said. "Now that the CARES Act is over, the $600 is going away, I am down to $83 a week because they're not looking at my 1099 income, which is most of my income."

Actor and part-time creative director Ben Hermes said he estimates he's lost out on close to $6,000 since March due to his mixed income.

"I was receiving residuals as an actor for jobs that I worked three to 15 years ago, and that was the only W2 income I received in 2019," he said. "The rest, 90%, was 1099."

Due to a flaw in the CARES Act, if a worker has any W2 earnings, they cannot apply for the pandemic unemployment assistance program. That means any 1099 earnings are not counted, drastically reducing their weekly benefits.

"My benefit amount was actually only rewarded to me at $93 per week," Hermes said. "$93! And that's in Southern California."

This week, Rep. Adam Schiff introduced a bill that would allow those with mixed income to apply into the PUA.

"So they can opt to get the greater benefit," Schiff said. "And if they were excluded entirely, then there is an opportunity to get that payment retroactively."

But for people like Hermes, Shapiro, and Kelly Dukat — who have been receiving small weekly benefits — they would not be eligible for any back pay.

"I believe they have every good intention to help people in our situation, the problem with this bill is that it overlooks a lot of issues we are dealing with by making concessions that I think will be hurting us." -WHO???

The bill does allow individual states to decide whether and when to implement the expanded coverage, but Schiff said he does think California and most other states will opt in. He said he's hoping the bill will be incorporated into the upcoming $3 trillion HEROES Act.

"It's not going to be a perfect bill, it's not going to be a perfect fix," Shiff said. "We are trying to find out what is in the realm of doable without drawing the opposition of states and has the prospect of bipartisan support and provide the maximum amount of relief to the maximum amount of people."
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