Job loss and domestic violence have been two of the biggest challenges during the pandemic, and UI has served as a vital safety net for jobless workers. But survivors of domestic violence are also workers who lose their jobs or are forced to relocate due to domestic abuse. UI could play a similar lifeline for them.
A framework for ensuring survivors have access to UI is already in place but appears to be underutilized. To receive ARPA funding, many states enacted provisions that provide UI to domestic violence survivors when they are forced to relocate or leave their job because of domestic abuse. These provisions have been around for nearly a decade in some states but there is no data that advocates can use to see how, or even if, it is being implemented. Anecdotally, at least in North Carolina, it does not appear that it is being utilized at all. State agencies should need to publish this data along with other monthly reports. There should also be targeted outreach to shelters and survivor advocacy groups to make sure that this resource does not continue to be underutilized. Additionally, LSC-funded organizations could serve as outreach or implementation partners who could report on their on-the-ground experience using these provisions to support survivors eligible for UI.