Almost a month after most states ordered non-essential businesses shut, millions of independent and self-employed workers are still waiting for the unemployment benefits they were promised.
Bill Volkart is one of them. The Clermont County, Ohio, man is known as" the duck guy," since he takes in and cares for ducks that families no longer want at his Mt Holly Duck Sanctuary.
But his day job is washing windows, or at least it was until COVID-19 hit.
"Nobody's gonna call for window cleaning," he said, "because they don't want anybody in their houses."
Independent workers losing thousands in business
Volkart would normally be busy washing windows right now at homes, car dealerships, and other small businesses. But he says this spring his business has dried up, leaving him without thousands of dollars of self-employment income.
"I am losing out on $7,000 worth of business," he said. "It's the biggest time of the year."
Volkart applied for unemployment 3 weeks ago, under the extended state plan and federal CARES Act that are supposed to help the self-employed.
But, he says, "I applied, I filled out all the forms, and I haven't heard anything back, and it has been three weeks."
So we checked with the State of Ohio, and learned that extended benefits have been very slow to go out.
When is money coming?
The director of Ohio's Job and Family Services, Kimberly Hall, said, "Our expectation is to begin issuing the additional $600 of federal money per week, by the end of next week. "
As for Ohio benefits for the self-employed, Lt. Governor John Husted said this week, "We hope to have more information for independent workers in the next few days."
Bill Volkart just wishes they would update him. "Nothing. I haven't gotten any email, text, nothing," he said.
So for now, all he can do is wait, and take care of his ducks that, just like him, seem to have been forgotten.
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