LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The forced shutdown of non-essential businesses in Massachusetts is leading to an uptick in the number of people filing for unemployment, during the coronavirus pandemic.

But what if you are self-employed like many hairdressers?

Anyone self-employed won't be able to collect an unemployment check, which means a growing number of people will soon be strapped for money.

With all non-essential businesses forced to shut down in Massachusetts, a large group of self-employed people, like many hairdressers, including co-owner of Brush Hair Salon in Longmeadow, Jaclyn Lopez who will be left without a paycheck for at least two weeks.

"Are the girls at work here most of us are self-employed so they work for themselves behind the chair meeting day they have their clients to come in the clients pay them directly and then they have to file a 1099 and pay taxes," Lopez explained.

She said many of the hairstylists there can't collect unemployment.

"There’s no outlet for any of us being self-employed any of us being self-employed to be able to collect unemployment," Lopez said.

According to the state, you get a W2 tax form if you are an employee of a business and that means you have been paying into an unemployment fund, which is allowing you to apply for unemployment benefits.

But for Lopes who is in the hair industry...that isn’t possible.

"If you are self-employed and you receive 1099 that means you have not paid into the unemployment system and you’re currently not eligible in most cases for unemployment," Lopez explained.

State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa said the federal government has the power to make a change.

"We do know he does have the ability to issue a disaster employment assistance which is a thing that we are hoping that he will do that would cover more people under the system we are finding a lot of people who are not qualifying like the hairdresser that you just mentioned people who are self-employed," Rep. Sabadosa explained.

If concerned, Sabadosa suggests contacting state leaders.

"I think reaching out to reaching out to your congressperson into your state senator to both warren and marking and letting them know how critical this is," Rep. Sabadosa said.

It's a move that Lopez said would be a game-changer.

"That would be a huge help for a lot of people that are self-employed there are no outlets because there no outlets for us at this moment," Lopez noted.

A reminder...the shutdown of non-essential businesses in the state is expected to be in place until April 7 at noon.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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