They’re draining savings, in debt and dropping health insurance. Like other workers, they’ve been hit by the recession, but freelancers are falling harder since they lack unemployment benefits and a safety net.
“I’ve dipped into my savings this year. It’s scary,” said costume designer Theresa Squire, who spent 13 years working her way up to Broadway and fears losing her health insurance.
“The top designers are taking lower-paying jobs,” Squire said, forcing others to take smaller jobs. She’s started teaching pilates part-time.
“We hear there’s a stimulus bill. Well, freelancers haven’t been included as much as they should,” saidSara Horowitz founder of the Freelancers Union, which yesterday released a report detailing problems facing the self-employed. Of its 135,000 members, 85,000 are in New York.
Jane Burbank, a Upper West Side psychotherapist, lost half her business as clients lost jobs or insurance. “They don’t want to quit,” she said. “A lot of anxieties coming up are about their jobs.” As a single mom, she now has her own job anxieties and has branched into pet bereavement and stress workshops.