top of page

Proof of Self-Employment

Updated: Apr 18, 2022

This article is NOT FOR EVERYONE. If you received a notice that you need to prove your self employment then YES - this article is for you. Not everyone needs to prove self employment.

There is a notice that basically says the following:

Even though your Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits have ended, federal rules require you to provide documentation to prove that you were, or planned to be, self-employed or employed at some point between 01/01/2019 and 04/19/2020.

If you do not provide the required documentation, you may have to repay any benefits determined to be an overpayment. An overpayment is when you receive benefits you are not eligible for. A potential overpayment could be all benefits you received including the PUA benefits and the additional $300 added to your benefits each week. We will add a 30% penalty if we determine that you intentionally gave false information or withheld information to receive benefits.

You have until xx/xx/xxx to submit documents. You can request more time if you have good cause.

I did not receive this notice, should I send in documents?

While this notice probably doesn’t pertain to you, you can always check your UI Online account and see if there is a proof of self-employment document request at the bottom of the home page that will look like this:

If you do not have access to your online account and there is concern that you may have missed a mail notice, you can also call EDD directly to confirm your status and check if there are any current or missed requests.

If you were on PUA and have been disqualified or have weeks pending on your EDD unemployment benefits from December of 2020 onward, then please be advised that once those payments are released to you, it will automatically trigger the “Upload Employment Documents” button to appear on your UI Online homepage. You will then be give a deadline in which you need to submit the required documentation to prove your employment or self-employment.

I already submitted proof of income, why do I need to do it again?

This is not proof of income. Proof of income was requested by EDD if a claimant was attempting to recomp their Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) from the minimum $167 to a higher amount.

The request for employment or self-employment documentation is to prove that you "were, or planned to be, self employed or employed at some point" prior to the pandemic and your PUA unemployment claim start date.

Why are they asking for these documentations?

The Continued Assistance Act required anyone who was receiving PUA benefits on or after December 27, 2020 to submit proof that they were planning to be self-employed or employed when they had applied for benefits.

What documentation would be sufficient for proving self-employment?

  • Tax documentation (year depends on when you filed, see question below)

  • Business license

  • Tax returns

  • Business receipts or invoices

  • Signed affidavits verifying self-employment

  • Contracts or agreements

  • Bank statements from a business account that show self-employment

  • Other records or documents that can proof self-employment

  • Providing more than one document is permitted

What documentation would be sufficient for proving that I had PLANNED to be self-employed?

  • Business licenses

  • State of federal employer identification numbers

  • Written business plans

  • Lease agreements

  • Other records or documents may be used as proof

  • Providing more than one document is permitted

Additional documents that can be used to prove employment:

  • Paycheck stubs

  • Earnings and leave statements

  • W-2 forms

  • Letters offering employment

  • Statements or affidavits with employers name and contact information that verifies an employment offer

  • Other records or documents may be used as proof


**Please note that the following tips regarding submitting self-employment documentation in order to prove eligibility for PUA benefits have been learned through personal experiences. We will continue to update these tips as we learn more about what the EDD Unemployment Claims office is accepting and rejecting**

If you need clarification if your documentations are appropriate or would like general advice on submitting proper documentation you may sign up for a consultation with us here.

Tax Documents

The tax returns that you submit must be based on when your EDD Unemployment/PUA claim began.

If your PUA claim began in 2020 - you need to upload your 2019 Tax Documents.

**EDD specifically states that if your claim began within the time frame where most people’s claim began in March of 2020, that is required that you provide a 2019 tax return. A tax return from an earlier or later year will likely get rejected. **

If your PUA claim began in 2021 - you need to upload your 2020 Tax Documents

A 2019 Tax Return is by far the best document you can submit in order to guarantee that your proof of self-employment will be accepted and you will not be served with an overpayment notice and 30% penalty.

Letters For Job Offers

If you are attempting to show that you had been offered a job that was later revoked due to the Covid-19 pandemic and government shutdown, then you must provide an offer letter with a clear start date. This letter must also be hand signed by the employer, otherwise it will absolutely be rejected. Electronic signatures DO NOT count.

It is also possible that EDD will ask you to provide a letter from the same employer stating that your job offer was temporarily or permanently terminated due to the pandemic.

Letters Verifying Your Employment

In some situations, people have worked independently for individuals in jobs such as (but not limited to) house cleaning, gardening, contracting, installing, nannying, etc. In some cases, EDD will allow your employer to write a letter stating that you worked for them and were forced to stop work due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While EDD states that you do not have to have this type of document notarized, it is helpful tool to attempt to ensure that your self-employment documents are not rejected.

It is also helpful for your employer to include some type of letterhead.

These proof of self-employment letters must also be hand signed otherwise they will be rejected.

I'm regular UI, so why am I getting this notice?

It is possible that you went on the PEUC 13 week extension very early on in the pandemic. Once you had used all 13 weeks, there were no more extensions in 2020. If that was the case where you used all your extensions in 2020, then they would have put you on PUA.

It is also possible that you had False Statement Penalty Weeks and received PUA for the weeks you were not eligible.

Generally speaking, if you had collected any PUA during the year 2021, you will likely have to provide one of these documents mentioned above.

I only collected PUA during 2020 and not 2021... is this still relevant to me?

If you had collected PUA during 2020 and you got this notice, it is HIGHLY LIKELY that the system is NOT advanced (as per usual) and sent this notice to anyone who received any kind of PUA... even though this "proof of documentation" is only for people who received PUA on or after December 27, 2020.

If you did get this notice, it would not hurt to submit the documents that they are asking for.

What happens if I do not submit anything?

It is likely that you will get an overpayment letter asking you to pay back the funds since you cannot prove that you were eligible to receive it. It is also possible to get hit with an added 30% penalty because you received benefits that were not owed to you.

You will receive a notice in the mail, which you can appeal if you disagree with it.

I submitted my documents, what's next?

EDD will acknowledge the receipt of it and follow up letting you know whether or not it was sufficient or if you need to provide further proof.

What is the deadline to submit this documentation?

Each PUA claimant will receive their own specific deadline. You can request up to 1 month of an extension via your UI Online homepage just under the upload button. If you need more time than 1 month then you may call the EDD unemployment claims office line at 1-800-300-5616 and request a longer extension from an EDD representative.

Generally speaking and under the federal rules, if you filed on or after January 31, 2021 you have 90 days to submit proof or request an extension. Please note, deadline dates will vary from claimant to claimant.

The best way to know YOUR deadline is to check your e-mail or inbox on UI Online.

My documents were rejected! Now what?

If your documents were rejected you always have the option to file an appeal. This will be included with your reject/overpayment notice.

If you’re looking for help or representation for an appeal regarding self-employment documentation or just need general advice on submitting proper documentation, then you may sign up for a consultation here.



I uploaded the wrong document, how can I fix this?


Gayla Nicholson
Gayla Nicholson
Nov 22, 2021

I did not receive a notice. Should I send it anyway?


Are you missing unemployment benefits?

We've helped thousands get the unemployment benefits they deserve. For just $25, schedule your 30-minute consultation now.

Latest Blogs

bottom of page