RICHMOND, Va. -- Millions of Americans are desperate to get back to work, and gig workers are among the demographics that have been hit the hardest by the covid-19 pandemic; out of work and unable to receive unemployment.
Entrepreneur Colin Chapman practices hypnosis through therapy and entertainment, as well as driving for Uber.
“I simply never expected us to still be locked down at this point," Chapman said. “It’s a lot of fun, very rewarding, really wanting to get back to it."
He has been without income for over a month now and he said he is frustrated that he isn't receiving unemployment benefits after filing for unemployment through the CARES Act and being denied.
“That claim was immediately rejected because I was not qualified for the traditional unemployment where some employer has been providing them insurance for my wages," Chapman added.
On Saturday, Governor Northam launched the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program that helps independent contractors and gig workers get benefits.
“More than 50,000 Virginians have successfully filed under that program. And they should see benefits by the end of next week," Northam said.
Chapman said he filed through the program but he still hasn’t heard back, adding that others have also been waiting for days.
"There are other Uber drivers who have gotten through and they’ve been told, we can’t even look and see what your status is right now."
With more than 82,000 Virginians filing for unemployment benefits, Chapman is hoping the money will start coming in soon.
“It’s down to people asking the question, how am I going to feed my kids," Chapman said. "That’s at a you know, whole new level. We all need to pull together right now and figure something out.”
The VEC said application confirmations will be sent via text message and that applicants should start seeing their benefits next week.