Can Freelancers Get Employee Benefits? - Zupnick Associates

Although independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers and any other 1099 workers don’t typically qualify for employee benefits. However, self-employed people in these categories can get support with their taxes. There are also ways they can find health benefits. If they become employed due to certain circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, they may also be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Self-Employed Individuals and Their Taxes

The IRS allows 1099 workers in the U.S. to write off certain business expenses. These include things such as:

  • The cost of using a home office
  • The purchase of office equipment
  • Office supplies
  • Computers
  • Advertising fees
  • Hiring fees for subcontractors
  • Use of a vehicle for work

Some businesses that hire freelance workers may offer benefits including:

  • Use of company IT
  • Dental and vision coverage
  • Group health insurance
  • Paid leave
  • Supplemental educational benefits
  • Corporate discounts
  • In-office perks
  • Profit-sharing

Finding Out About Freelance Employee Benefits

The best time to ask a prospective hirer about employee benefits is near the beginning of the interview process. Many companies do not offer benefits for freelancers, but those who do often don’t advertise them. However, they may offer benefits such as supplemental health insurance. If your role involves travel for the company, you can ask them for reimbursement for travel expenses, accommodations, and meals. Other negotiable expenses include safety equipment and clothing or uniforms. Other incentives for 1099 workers are becoming increasingly popular, such as training for new skills and re-verification of currently held certifications.      

Unemployment Benefits for Freelancers Under the CARES Act

Typically, unemployment benefits are not available for people who are self-employed or independent contractors. However, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was enacted in March 2020, freelancers, gig workers, and other 1099 workers qualify for unemployment assistance if they have lost income due to certain COVID-19 measures, such as testing positive for COVID-19 or being quarantined due to the coronavirus and unable to work from home.  Guidelines and eligibility vary by state

Freelance Workers and Health Insurance Benefits

One of the major challenges facing freelancers is finding affordable health coverage. Fortunately, there are several places a self-employed individual might find suitable options. These include:

  • Affordable Care Act: Small businesses or individual freelancers may be able to find health insurance through the healthcare marketplace. Enrollment usually begins in November and continues through until mid-December, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some states have reopened enrollment for ACA.
  • Your domestic partner’s plan: If your spouse or domestic partner has health coverage through their employer, you may have an opportunity to be added on to their plan.
  • COBRA coverage: If you are about to or have recently left a full-time position to do freelance work, your existing health insurance provider may allow you to convert your current plan into an individual plan.
  • Professional associations: If you are a member of an association because of your particular profession, your are a member of a worker organization, or you are a member of an association for self-employed workers, then your membership may give you eligibility to the organization’s group insurance if they have one. For example, the Freelancers Union allows its members to participate in a group insurance plan.  

If you are a small business owner or a freelance worker you should consider scheduling a consultation with a health insurance broker, such as Zupnik and Associates. The company is an all-inclusive New York City-based brokerage. They specialize in group employee benefits packages that include health coverage, life insurance, dental plans, voluntary plans, and much more. They can also help your small business obtain eh best liability protection, property coverage, and advise you on PPACA laws and obligations, Zupnik and Associates serve many and varied industries including real estate projects, hospitality franchises, food franchises, specialty and general contractors, and others.

Zupnik and Associates can help freelancers obtain benefits. They are also currently offering a free consultation for small businesses. Call them today on 718-534-1194 they can help you find employee and freelance worker benefits that are efficient and affordable. 

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