This page is intended to offer assistance and informational resources to arts and culture organizations. Please refer to guidelines and orders issued by the Shelby County Health Department and/or the City of Memphis and Shelby County for official direction.
Back to Business for Memphis & Shelby County
State of Tennessee Resources:
Memphis Chamber of Commerce Resources:
Small Business Association Disaster Assistance Program
Tennessee Arts Commission
Due to the number of questions regarding unemployment for self-employed artists, we sought some advice from our colleagues at Adams Keegan. They referred us to the website below, which provides a short video on how to apply for unemployment as a sole proprietor, and provides step-by-step instructions.
Because this unemployment application system is not designed to accommodate sole proprietors, they have implemented some workarounds into the application process to accommodate Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). As our Adams Keegan colleagues noted, after submitting an application, it may look as if you are denied, because as of April 23, they do not yet have the PUA program in place. However, it is important to go ahead and apply now, so that when the program is implemented, applications will be considered and unemployment assistance will be retroactive.
As noted on this website, you will be prompted to enter the NAICS code for your profession. The code for independent artists, writers and performers is 711510.
Other suggestions and information we received came from the Shelby County Workforce Investment Network:
Apply at Jobs4TN.gov
Currently, most self-employed individuals and independent contractors working in Tennessee are not authorized to obtain regular Tennessee Unemployment Compensation (TUC). However, self-employed individuals and independent contractors may be eligible for benefits under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is available for individuals who would normally not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits, but are unable to work because of COVID-19. PUA is available for periods of unemployment between January 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020. The maximum benefit amount is $275, the same as the maximum benefit amount for regular Tennessee unemployment insurance benefits. The minimum PUA benefit amount is calculated by USDOL, quarterly, as 50% of the average weekly benefit amount in each state. For January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020, the minimum benefit rate is $120. For April 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020, the minimum benefit rate is $121. An additional $600 will be paid on top of your weekly benefit amount under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.
If I am self-employed, how do I submit my missing wage information?
If you are self-employed, you do not need to file a wage protest. Instead, submit proof of your earnings (IRS form 1040 schedule C, E, or F; Business records such as bank statements or financial statements; check stubs) to[email protected], fax to 615-253-0808, or mail to Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, 220 French Landing Drive, Nashville, TN 37243.
For further questions or information about PUA, please contact the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development directly. ArtsMemphis is not an expert in unemployment and is providing this information as a courtesy only.
Shelby County Health Department: Coronavirus Disease 2019
Center for Disease Control, Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Thank you to partner organizations who have helped share resources, including Americans for the Arts, Epicenter, Momentum Nonprofit Partners and Tennessee Arts Commission.