Unemployment Insurance Program

Make sure states aren't underpaying or not paying benefits

Description :

DOL should conduct ongoing audits and issue guidance to address the problem of state agencies underpaying workers the benefits they are entitled and/or workers being improperly classified whether it be by an employer or the agency. For example, 10% of workers in the US are independent contractors, but such a larger proportion of workers were on PUA that it raises questions about whether states were properly applying their own, often very broad, laws. We know from allies that many states just moved all app-based and other workers to PUA without examining whether the workers were employees, and that workers who received PUA generally received far less in weekly benefits than those that were deemed eligible for regular UI. Other examples: 1) States also being more restrictive in their interpretations of UI programs, resulting in rushed overpayments not accounting for US DOL UIPLS (agency error, equity and good conscience) or COVID-19 allowances (i.e reasonable assurance for school staff, caregiving arrangements, unsafe work environments/job refusal, etc), 2) Immense backlogs and lack of established agency processes resulting in claimants not being paid entitled benefits (full or partial amounts) 3) Employer misinformation to claimants on UI eligibility 4) Tech issues with state agency benefit sites and/or system resulting in incorrect payments or inaccessible portals to receive payments. Combined with the inability of claimants to access the agency and/or backlog of agency work to address individual claimant issues. (i.e buttons to apply for next benefit program missing, state systems incorrectly paying claimants) 5) PUA process missing standards of state UI program, i.e ability for claimants to request monetary redetermination.

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Idea No. 199