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America's unemployment system is broken. With millions of workers still without jobs, it's time to finally fix it.

10 26 23

How many families might never experience food insecurity if permanent improvements were made to unemployment insurance? As unemployment shot up to historic highs because of the pandemic, new Census data show that the poverty rate went down. Congress protected people who lost work with legislation that included necessary expansions to unemployment insurance. Reforming unemployment insurance will ensure similar safeguards are in place at all times.

Federal pandemic supplements supported millions of workers and their families during a period of intense tumult. Gig workers and those in less conventional positions, who are typically ineligible for state unemployment insurance, could qualify for federal assistance. The higher benefit amounts distributed were associated with reduced food insecurity, and the improved benefit durations allowed for financial stability across many months of unalterable unemployment. Such enhancements reduced risk of depressive symptoms and helped prevent long-term health damage to workers and their children.

The upgrades were a major divergence from the pre-pandemic norms, when millions of unemployed workers were left stranded with insufficient access, amounts, and lengths of assistance. This month's expiration of federal unemployment programs ensured the immediate resumption of that inadequate system, hurting ten million workers now and tens of millions more in the years to come. Without implementing improved and lasting national standards in the reconciliation bill,........

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