Information on this page may change. Please check back frequently.
As coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact people around the world and confirmed cases grow throughout North America, health and safety are our top priority. Doing everything possible to limit the spread of COVID-19 is vital, but we understand the disastrous financial impact this will have on many musicians and other working people. AFM is calling for immediate action to provide economic relief including expanding unemployment benefits and an immediate moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs.
This is an evolving situation that we are closely monitoring, but in the meanwhile please stay current with national, state/provincial and local public health guidelines. Please visit the links below for more information.
- AFL-CIO COVID-19 Resources
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) Prevention and Treatment
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration
- Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID-19 Updates and Resources
- Public Health Departments in the United States
- World Health Organization
- Unemployment Information
- Musicians’ Relief Fund
- The Actor’s Fund
- Union Plus
- Petrillo Fund
Recent federal legislation gives jobless musicians and other working people larger unemployment benefits over a longer period of time—including those who rely on contract work, freelance jobs, and others who have traditionally been excluded from unemployment insurance. For the first time, 1099 workers are able to receive unemployment benefits!
You can now claim unemployment benefits for an extended period of time (up to four months) and the typical one-week waiting period to start receiving benefits is now waived. Weekly unemployment benefit amounts are increased by $600.
Please Note: All benefits are administered through state unemployment agencies, but many states have not yet implemented these expanded benefits or updated their websites. This means there could be a delay before you may access benefits available for 1099 workers and freelancers. Please keep checking with your state unemployment agency for updates.
2020 Recovery Rebates
Besides unemployment benefits, musicians may be eligible to receive one-time cash benefit to households of $1,200 per adult ($2,400 per couple) and $500 per child. People earning $75,000 ($150,000 jointly) or less will receive the full amount. This phases-out for people earning more than $99,000 ($198,000 jointly) with no children. People with no federal tax liability will receive only $600. It is currently anticipated that funds will be sent within the next three weeks. You do not apply for this benefit.
Each state sets its own unemployment insurance benefits and eligibility guidelines, but you will usually need certain information including:
- Addresses & dates of all your former jobs for the last 18 months
- Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (if you have one). FEIN is on W-2 forms.
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license or state issued ID card number (if you have one)
Follow through the application process. If there is a question you can’t answer, do your best. Make sure you finish! Even if it’s imperfect, it at least gets you in the system and in line.
- Federal funds will be distributed to state unemployment agencies, and all benefits are administered through your state.
- To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to generally file a claim in the state where you worked.
- If you worked in a state other than the one where you now live or if you worked in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency where you now live can provide information about how to file your claim with other states.
- Please Note: All benefits are administered through state unemployment agencies, but many states have not yet implemented these expanded benefits or updated their websites. This means there could be a delay before you may access benefits available for 1099 workers and freelancers. Please keep checking with your state unemployment agency for updates.
Musicians’ Relief Fund
The Musicians’ Relief Fund helps union musicians who work gig to gig and are confronting extraordinary financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that you must meet ALL of the following five requirements to apply for financial assistance:
- You must currently be a member in good standing of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.
- You must be primarily engaged as a freelance musician.
- You must not be receiving post-COVID-19 lockdown payments of any sort from a musical employer, which payments flow from an agreement between an employer and AFM or one of its locals.
- You must reside and work in the United States or Canada.
- You have lost work due to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
Completed applications will be considered on a rolling basis and reviewed in the order in which they are received. Payment amount is subject to availability of funds. Initial payments will not exceed $300, but may be revised upward if additional funding permits.
The Actors Fund
Musicians affected by COVID-19 should contact The Actors Fund for information on emergency financial assistance and other resources including affordable housing, health care and insurance counseling. Learn more about The Actor’s Fund here.
Musicians participating in certain Union Plus programs who have been impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for additional assistance through the Union Plus Mortgage Assistance Program and Union Plus Hardship Help. Learn more about Union Plus programs here.
AFM’s Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund for Disabled Musicians was established to assist members-in-good standing who become ill or disabled, and are unable to accept work. You may be eligible for assistance if you are diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19). AFM members may learn about the Petrillo Fund here.