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State Options to Expand Unemployment Benefits


Report

COVID-19: Unemployment Insurance for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

March 23, 2020 - This post summarizes recent federal relief actions in the unemployment insurance program, discusses how these federal actions interact with current state programs, and highlight options the Legislature may want to pursue in responding to the ongoing crisis.

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The 2021-22 May Revision: Golden State Stimulus 2

May 18, 2021 - This post provides an overview of state and federal stimulus payments to date, describes the Governor's May Revision proposal for a second round of Golden State Stimulus payments, and presents two alternatives that go further toward filling in the gaps in federal pandemic relief.

Handout

[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: Golden State Stimulus

January 26, 2021 - Presented to: Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 4 On State Administration and General Government (Hon. Anna M. Caballero, Chair)

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Broad-Based Cash Assistance in COVID-19 Recovery Actions

April 3, 2020 - This post summarizes the broad-based cash assistance provided under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. We briefly describe the historical and policy context for this assistance and discuss its likely impact on Californians.

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How Has COVID-19 Affected Renters and Homeowners?

January 19, 2021 - In this brief we assess how coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected renters and homeowners. We also provide an updated estimate of the total unpaid rental debt in California that has accumulated due to COVID-19.

Correction 1/19/21: Legend on Figure 3 corrected to match data.

Handout

[PDF] Overview of Employment Development Department Response to COVID-19

July 30, 2020 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration Hon. Jim Cooper, Chair

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Improving California’s Unemployment Insurance Program

August 8, 2022 - California's Unemployment Insurance (UI) program provides wage replacement to unemployed workers. The program has faltered during recent downturns, causing hardship for workers and their families, holding back the state's economic recovery, and spurring frustration among Californians with their government. Recent failures trace back to the UI program's basic design, which results in more emphasis being placed on limiting fraud and business costs than making sure eligible workers get benefits quickly and easily. Although this emphasis is not new, the pandemic has highlighted the need to rebalance the UI program. We recommend about a dozen targeted changes to state practices to place a greater priority on getting payments to eligible unemployed workers.

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California's Other Budget Deficit: The Unemployment Insurance Fund Insolvency

October 20, 2010 - California's Unemployment Insurance (UI) program became insolvent in 2009, ending that year with a shortfall of $6.2 billion. Absent corrective action, the fund deficit is projected to increase to approximately $20 billion at the end of 2011. This report looks at the history of the UI program, compares California's program to those in other states, examines different scenarios for addressing the insolvency, and makes recommendations to the Legislature for solving this difficult problem.

(Video Summary)

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Nutrition Programs in COVID-19 Recovery Actions

March 25, 2020 - This post describes key actions taken to increase Californians' access to food in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We focus on key actions taken by the state and federal government through April 10, 2020.

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Federal Paid Leave for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

March 27, 2020 - On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), the second federal relief act aimed at mitigating the economic and public health consequences of COVID-19. In this post, we summarize the two forms of paid leave required under H.R. 6201, discuss how these interact with other state benefit programs, and highlight key issues for the Legislature to consider as it responds to the ongoing crisis.

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The 2020-21 May Revision: CalWORKs Caseload-Driven Costs in the 2020-21 May Revision

June 2, 2020 - The 2020-21 May Revision projects California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) caseload to reach historic highs in response to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and subsequent public health emergency. In this post, we describe this projection, assess it in light of recent data and historical trends, and recommend an alternative set of assumptions.

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Update on COVID-19 Spending in California

November 5, 2020 - This post provides a high-level summary of state and federal funds provided to date to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this post we discuss: (1) the authorities, at both the state and federal levels, for COVID-19 spending; (2) the state, federal, and other funding sources for COVID-19 spending; and (3) the amounts of COVID-19 spending authorized so far, organized by different purposes and program areas.

Updated 11/12/20: State and federal government spending on certain activities to control the spread of COVID-19 revised upward to $8.6 billion.

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[PDF] California's Unemployment Insurance Program: Gaining Insight Through Comparison to Other States

October 13, 2011 - Since 2008, the cost of providing unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in many states has exceeded available resources. As a result, by 2010 the UI funds in 32 states were insolvent, forcing those states to obtain loans from the federal government to continue payment of UI benefits. In this report, we conduct a comparative analysis of the UI programs in all 50 states and Washington D.C. to provide context for the Legislature in considering potential solutions to California's UI insolvency. Our analysis finds that California’s UI program pays comparatively lower weekly benefits, but pays these weekly benefits for a longer duration and to a relatively larger caseload. As a result, California has comparatively higher total program costs. To the extent the Legislature desires, California’s comparatively high cost structure could be mitigated by changing its UI eligibility and benefits duration policies. However, regardless of UI policies, California’s UI program is likely to have a higher UI cost structure than the average U.S. state as a result of its comparatively worse labor market.