ICYMI: 50 state workforce agencies call for Congress to Prevent Disruption of UI programs

Americans in need can’t wait. They need Congress to act!

Following up on the release of its 2021 legislative priorities, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) penned a letter to Congress this week calling urgently for the extension of staffing flexibility in supporting the nation’s unemployment insurance (UI) programs.

ICYMI on the CAMI Blog: 50 state workforce agencies support extending staff flexibility for UI

If Congress fails to act before September 6, state UI agencies could again be plunged into chaos with eligible applicants facing even longer delays in receiving benefits.

Specifically, the letter calls for an extension of Section 2106 of the CARES Act, which authorized staffing flexibility for states to administer and operate their UI programs. The letter highlights that states have heavily relied on this flexibility to process a large backlog of claims, which have persisted even as vaccination rates have increased.

This staffing flexibility has been used by 41 states, led by both Democratic and Republican Governors, and has proven to be an invaluable tool during the COVID-19 pandemic. As cases surge in parts of the country, it is clear that unemployment claims will continue at high levels and backlogs will persist.

Take just a few of the recent headlines that tell a story of continued disruption, delays and problems within state UI systems:

The current staffing flexibility is set to expire on September 6, 2021, with Congress set to recess for August, and not returning until after the provision expires. The unwillingness of Congress to authorize the use of temporary workers to reduce unemployment benefits backlogs will cause hard-working Americans to have even longer delays in getting the payments they deserve.

CAMI stands with NASWA in calling for an extension of this flexibility to protect American workers and families who are in need of essential aid.