COVID-19 response legislation greatly strengthened and expanded the dollar amount, duration, and coverage of unemployment assistance. These changes have prompted questions about the implications for workers receiving disability benefits. This brief discusses the interaction between disability benefits and unemployment assistance and clarifies benefits that unemployed workers can receive through pandemic-related unemployment assistance. It is published jointly with Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, The Arc, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, The Century Foundation, and The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, essential workers have supported the well-being of our communities and the economy, but inconsistencies in federal, state, and local essential worker policies have limited some workers’ access to paid sick days, greater compensation, and other benefits. This brief, published jointly with the Workers’ Rights Institute, provides an inclusive definition of essential workers, and finds that women, people of color, and immigrants are over-represented in the essential workforce and face increased risks related to COVID-19.
Using Tax Based Policies to Support Workers & Families During The COVID-19 Recession: The Urgent Need for Additional Measures
The COVID-19 pandemic and recession have wrought unprecedented hardship for families with low incomes, particularly Black and Brown families. The federal government alone can and must spend more to help families weather the crisis, emphasized Indi Dutta-Gupta, in his testimony before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means. He highlighted the key role tax policy, particularly cash transfers and refundable tax credits, can play in supporting families. With its ability to reach tens of millions of households with speed and efficiency, the tax system can play a vital role in delivering immediate assistance and jumpstarting a lasting economy.
As unemployment soars, a substantial share of unemployed jobseekers—including new entrants, such as many students completing school—are excluded from the regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) system and new emergency unemployment programs. This brief argues that a Jobseeker’s Allowance could fill gaps in the UI system and help workers, families, and the economy by providing cash and employment supports for jobseekers left out of UI. The brief is jointly published with Employ America, the Economic Policy Institute, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Employment Law Project, and the Century Foundation.
Automatic stabilizers—policies that make public spending responsive to economic conditions—boost our economy by reducing income losses and supporting consumer spending. This memo, published jointly with Data for Progress and the Groundwork Collaborative, analyzes new polling data on automatic stabilizers. By a two-to-one margin, voters support Congress implementing policies to automatically increase social spending during periods of increased unemployment.