Executive Summary: An Unemployment Insurance Universal Coverage Guarantee
Our unemployment insurance system is not a safety net, but a punishment. We found that more than half of Black and Hispanic workers reported losing income since the beginning of the pandemic, but fewer than 1 in 5 accessed UI. Millions of others struggle with navigating the system or surviving on the meager benefits.
We need a modern unemployment insurance system built for a post-COVID era. We propose a universal coverage guarantee that ensures every worker who’s lost a job will have adequate financial support as well as help re-entering the workforce. This includes three components:
- Guarantee that UI reaches everyone through expanded eligibility and a federally administered application system which is easier to navigate.
- Guarantee that the UI provides adequate support through more generous benefits and streamlined connection to the whole federal safety net.
- Guarantee that UI will help you re-enter the workforce through job training vouchers and a job search stipend on top of benefits.
The pandemic underscored how our UI system drastically underserves Americans in need. Our universal coverage guarantee modernizes and enhances unemployment to ensure everyone has the opportunity to earn a good life.