Unemployment Insurance




Unemployment insurance keeps Oklahomans safe, supports the economy

Since March 15, more than 450,000 people have filed new unemployment claims in Oklahoma. These unemployment claims make up nearly 10 percent of our civilian labor force, and it means that a lot of Oklahomans are out of work. For comparison, we’ve seen more claims since mid-March than we saw in all of 2009, the year during the Great Recession that Oklahoma saw the largest number of new unemployment claims. Unemployment insurance will be a critical piece of our ability to weather and recover from this economic and public health emergency. It is in everyone’s best interest for the system to be robust and accessible to all who need it.


We must increase unemployment insurance benefits without caveats

Long before the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our state’s economy, Louisiana workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own were stuck with some of the lowest unemployment benefits in the country.

Louisiana’s maximum weekly benefit of $247 is the third lowest in the nation, behind Mississippi and Arizona. But most unemployed Louisianans receive even less. Louisiana’s average weekly unemployment benefit has hovered around $190 in 2021, which is the lowest in the nation.

The Legislature is considering two bills to address this issue. While both bills would raise the weekly benefits that people can receive after losing their jobs, each of them also have serious flaws that would hurt people at a time when Louisiana still has a long way to go before it fully recovers from the pandemic recession.


New York Approves $2.1 Billion Relief Fund for Immigrants — New Jersey Should Do the Same

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought increased recognition of immigrants’ critical contributions to our communities and economies. Our nation’s immigration policy and safety net programs, however, still do not reflect this reality. Undocumented immigrants are both disproportionately represented among industries experiencing job loss due to the pandemic and essential workers who risk their lives to perform critical work, including caring for our loved ones, keeping our stores stocked and running, and growing, preparing, and delivering our food. While most people facing financial hardship can benefit from government aid, including the federal stimulus payments and unemployment insurance, discriminatory eligibility criteria bar many immigrants from the same access to financial assistance.


Excluded Worker Fund: Aid to Undocumented Workers, Economic Boost Across New York State

THE NEW YORK STATE EXCLUDED WORKER FUND at last provides a meaningful level of assistance to undocumented workers who have been excluded from major federal pandemic assistance. The $2.1 billion fund creates two tiers of aid. Tier 1 is on a rough par with unemployment insurance and provides $15,600 to undocumented workers who can meet its strict standards of proof of eligibility. Tier 2 pays $3,200 and is on a par with the three rounds of federal stimulus payments ($1,200, $600, and $1,400). Statewide, the Fiscal Policy Institute estimates that 290,000 workers will benefit from the Excluded Worker Fund. That includes 92,000 we estimate will qualify for Tier 1 benefits and 199,000 for Tier 2 benefits.