Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Federal Program Supported Contingent Workers Amid Historic Demand, but DOL Should Examine Racial Disparities in Benefit Receipt [open pdf - 1MB]
From the Highlights: "In response to widespread unemployment caused by the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic, the CARES [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security] Act created the federal PUA [Pandemic Unemployment Assistance] program. The first program of its kind and scale, PUA temporarily expanded unemployment benefits to workers generally ineligible for UI [unemployment insurance], such as self-employed and contingent workers--those without traditional employment arrangements. The CARES Act includes a provision for GAO [Government Accountability Office] to monitor federal efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report examines (1) how state implementation of PUA varied, (2) how the pandemic affected contingent workers in selected states, and to what extent the UI system assisted them, and (3) how PUA benefit receipt varied by demographic characteristics. GAO interviewed officials from DOL and five states selected for variation in claims volume and implementation timing. GAO also analyzed PUA data obtained from the selected states and data DOL collects from all states. In two states, GAO held discussions with contingent workers who applied for PUA. GAO also reviewed relevant federal law and program guidance."
Government Accountability Office: https://www.gao.gov/