Unemployment Insurance Program

Allow unemployed workers to take PT work

When laid-off workers are looking for a new full-time job, sometimes only part-time work is available. But many states have rules that discourage workers from accepting part-time work while continuing their job search. Workers receiving UI typically lose all or most of their benefits when they take a part-time job even if their part-time wages are far lower than pre-layoff earnings. To encourage work, there should be... more »

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16 votes
16 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

Congress should mandate that states provide UI to PT workers

All workers need support when they are thrown out of a job through no fault of their own. Yet many states have rules that block part-time, underpaid, seasonal, and temporary workers from being eligible for unemployment benefits when they are laid off. For example, some states have rules that require workers to have been paid a certain level of wages over a short period of time; rules obligating workers to be seeking full-time... more »

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14 votes
14 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

Congress should guarantee adequate UI benefits

When the pandemic hit, Congress passed the CARES Act providing an extra $600 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits. Later on, the UI supplement was renewed at the level of $300 a week. The extra money provided to unemployed workers and their families boosted incomes and helped keep millions of people out of poverty. But as of September 6, 2021, the supplement has expired and unemployed workers now receive an average... more »

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13 votes
13 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

Congress should mandate a minimum duration of 26 weeks

When workers are laid off, it takes time to find a new job. On average, it took workers 30.3 weeks to find a new job in the second quarter of 2021. Yet after the last recession, some states cut their maximum weeks of benefits to as little as 12 weeks. Even if workers still haven't found a new job, they can lose all unemployment support if it takes them longer to find work. For example, in Florida, with a 12-week benefit... more »

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13 votes
13 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

Language Access

Civil rights laws already require that states translate their unemployment insurance websites and applications into Spanish and other commonly spoken languages. But many states have not yet fully complied. To ensure equal access for workers who aren't English proficient, states need resources and requirements from the DOL to translate all online materials, ensure workers can complete online applications, check the status... more »

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12 votes
12 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

State Disqualification based on receipt of SSDI benefits

Community Member kudos icon 1 Community member
Wisconsin is one of very few states that disqualify UI claimants from receiving any UI benefits if they also receive any SSDI benefits. Wis. Stat. § 108.04(12)(f). Wisconsin does this by equating the UI standard of being "able and available" for work with the SSDI standard of being able to engage in "any substantial gainful activity." In fact, however, the two standards are not the same. Under current Social Security... more »

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11 votes
12 up votes
1 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

Partner with community based groups to educate workers about UI

Laid-off workers are often unaware that they are eligible for unemployment insurance or don't know how to apply. USDOL should encourage and support state unemployment agencies to form and strengthen partnerships with labor unions, worker advocates, worker centers, and workers themselves to improve outreach, education, and access to UI benefits. One example is for the state agency to establish a UI Stakeholder Liaison... more »

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11 votes
11 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

Waive pandemic overpayments thru no fault of the workers

In the early days of the pandemic when unemployment spiked, states rightly focused on getting payments to workers quickly. Now, many states are reviewing past claims and some workers have been required to pay back tens of thousands of dollars they do not have. Current guidance from the DOL already allows states to waive repayment of benefits if the state determines that: i) the overpayment was without fault on the part... more »

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11 votes
11 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

Make sure states aren't underpaying or not paying benefits

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... more »

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11 votes
11 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

Involve Labor and Community Organizations to Expand UI Access

Labor and community organizations should be involved in helping unemployed workers access unemployment insurance benefits through public education and individualized support. State agencies should be encouraged to partner with and fund labor and community membership-based organizations that are rooted in communities and populations least likely to access UI. Engaging these organizations provides value that can't be achieved... more »

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11 votes
11 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

Collect and Share better demographical and other info about UI

It's difficult to effectively address the problems with unemployment insurance systems without accessible state-level data on key issues. A national unemployment insurance research and data hub that is updated in real time and easily accessible to government agencies and the public would help identify and solve problems with the system. The hub should document UI backlogs, call center wait times, and application rates... more »

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10 votes
10 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

Uniform UI technology across the states

In many states, workers applying for unemployment benefits struggle with confusing and/or difficult to follow instructions and steps; restrictive hours to access state unemployment websites and mobile services; state websites that are not optimized for the mobile phones that are the primary or only way many workers access the internet; obstacles to resetting login information and passwords; a lack of translation or interpretation... more »

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10 votes
10 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

Ensure that UI staff have racial equity competancy

The USDOL and state unemployment agencies should incorporate staff into the unemployment insurance modernization process who have contextual competency (language justice, understanding of how racism operates in agencies and historically in policies and procedures) and have them deeply invested in every part of the modernization process. Federal and state agency staff should also have racial equity training to improve... more »

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10 votes
10 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

UI benefits should be based on the most recent wages

All states should consider laid-off workers' most recent wages when they determine whether workers have earned enough wages to qualify for UI benefits. Currently a few states refuse to consider workers' most recent 3-6 months of earnings. This might have made sense years ago, when workers' earnings were reported by employers on paper at the end of each quarter, but in the age of instant digital reporting there's no good... more »

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10 votes
10 up votes
0 down votes

Unemployment Insurance Program

A more holistic approach to program integrity

Currently, program integrity focuses almost exclusively on overpayments and potential cases of fraud by individual claimants. This focus has contributed to twice as many workers being improperly denied benefits, disproportionately impacting workers of color. DOL should issue guidance telling states to meet other measures with equal rigor, including focusing on first payment timeliness, recipiency, and appeals timeliness... more »

Voting

8 votes
8 up votes
0 down votes