UI: Unemployment Insurance
Level of Government
The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and its induced recession underscored the crucial importance of unemployment insurance (UI) to workers, and to the stability of the American economy. Temporary federal expansions of unemployment systems during the pandemic showed how they can quickly be scaled to increase benefit levels and to include categories of workers who were not previously eligible, such as the self-employed, caregivers, and low-wage workers. And, states showed that separate programs can be set up to provide similar benefits to workers who are explicitly excluded from unemployment insurance—in particular immigrants who do not have a documented immigration status.