Unemployment Insurance During COVID-19

Businesses across the country are closed in response to the spread of COVID-19. Unemployment assistance has typically been available only to “traditionally-employed” workers, and for statedetermined timeframes with stipulations requiring that they actively look for work. Given the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the White House, and states are working together to provide flexibility and additional support to workers of all backgrounds who have become unemployed as a result of COVID-19.

This memo describes:

  • What current unemployment assistance flexibilities exist under the CARES Act;
  • What states are doing to increase UI staffing and system capacity;
  • What governors are doing to further improve access to UI; and
  • What governors can do to communicate UI challenges and opportunities to the public, to help reduce public uncertainty that further overwhelms the UI system.

All NGA coronavirus memos can be found here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for current information on actions States/Territories are taking to address the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as advocacy, policy, and guidance documents for protecting public health and the economy.