Economic Recovery: Federal Incentives for the States to Modernize the Unemployment Program

12/19/2008 - 12:00pm


On Friday, December 19, 2008 at 12:00pm EST, Progressive States Network together with the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the Half In Ten Campaign, and MomsRising, hosted a call to share information about the innovative state reforms featured in the Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act (UIMA) and the critical role that state officials and state advocates can play in this timely federal debate.

As state legislative sessions get going in January, states should be introducing bills right away featuring the model reforms that qualify for funding under the UIMA. In addition to discussing these reforms, the panel of experts will discuss other proven unemployment insurance policies that respond to the critical needs of workers struggling pay their bills and find new work in the midst of a severe recession.

The outcome the federal debate over the economic recovery package to be introduced when the new Congress convenes is January is critical to the future of the state unemployment insurance programs, the nation's first line of defense against recessions. Backed by Senator Kennedy, Congressman Rangel and other Congressional leaders, the Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act (UIMA) should be a core component of the national recovery agenda. The measure would provide $7 billion in incentive funds to states that provide benefits to more low-wage, women and part-time workers, helping over 500,000 workers collect benefits every year. In addition, the bill would provide all states with $500 million in funds to help them process record numbers of unemployment claims and get laid-off workers the help they need to get back on their feet.

Panelists included (click names to contact):

Take Action!

Send a letter to your US Senator urging them to include passage of the Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act (UIMA) in any recovery package that is passed. Go to


Recording of conference call:
(listen online, or to download, right-click on the link above and select "Save Link As..", name and save)

House Recovery Bill Would Bring Swift Relief To Economy and Unemployed Workers; Proposal Fills Major Holes in Saftey Net - National Employment Law Project (NELP) 
A NELP press release from January 15, 2009 following the release of the details of the House Democratic Majority's economic recovery plan.  Among other provisions, the recovery plan (known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill) would enact the Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act (UIMA).

Unemployment Insurance Modernization Should Be Part of Recovery Plan - Progressive States Network

Implementing the Model Provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act in the States - National Employment Law Project (NELP)
This guide provides a summary of the key reforms that qualify for incentive funding under the UIMA and model
state legislation
to help policy makers in the states as they introduce bills in preparation for their legislative

Helping the Jobless Helps Us All: The Central Role of Unemployment Insurance inAmerica’s Economic Recovery - Half In Ten, NELP & the Center for American Progress Action Fund
This new report by Maurice Emsellem and Andrew Stettner of the National Employment Law Project, Lisa Donner of Half in Ten, and Alexandra Cawthorne of the Center for American Progress Action Fund provides insight into the current unemployment crisis and explains the necessity of immediate action.

Helping More Workers Get Unemployment Benefits: The Impact of UIMA - Half In Ten
This webpage explains the impact of UIMA and includes a handy map and table with information about unemployment insurance in each state.

Moms and the Unemployment Crisis: Is Federal Help on the Way? - MomsRising
A call to action by Judi Conti of NELP, this blog article makes the case that now is the time for everyone, but especially mothers, to stand up and insist that the UIMA be signed into law as a necessary and core component of the nation’s new economic recovery agenda.

Tell Your Senators: Economic Recovery Must Include Moms - MomsRising

The Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act: Filling the Gaps in the Unemployment Safety NetWhile Stimulating the Economy - National Employment Law Project (NELP)
This handy fact sheet provides information on UIMA and key state-by-state data. 

Another Unconditional Giveaway of the Federal Unemployment Trust Funds: A Bad Deal for Jobless Workers and for the Unemployment Insurance Program - National Employment Law Project (NELP)
This fact sheet why another no-strings-attached giveaway of the federal unemployment trust funds (like the past "Reed Act") would be devastating for jobless workers.

Changing Workforce / Changing Economy - National Employment Law Project (NELP)
NELP's comprehensive webpage on unemployment insurance.