NASWA Letter to Senate Majority and Minority Leaders on Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014

Mar 19, 2014

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NASWA President Mark Henry sent a letter and fact sheet  to  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) detailing the administrative burden on states, with a retroactive extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program. 

While NASWA does not have a position on whether to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program because our member states hold varying positions on that question, we wanted to inform the Senate leadership that states have significant concerns about the implementation of this legislation.

States have done a remarkable job implementing EUC08 since its inception.   However, some states have indicated they might decide such changes in S. 2148 are not feasible in the short time available, and therefore would consider not signing the U.S. Department of Labor’s agreement to operate the program.  The reasons are the following:

  1. Most states are struggling with antiquated and rigid computer systems -- averaging 25 years old -- thus making it very hard to implement program changes quickly and effectively.
  2. The legislation is not clear on how states would pay for the administration of their EUC08 claims process if federal funds cannot be spent to determine an individual’s eligibility.
  3. The “millionaire provision” would be very hard to administer.  The UI system is not means-tested and therefore does not collect information on an individual’s adjusted gross income. Screening individuals by reported quarterly UI covered wages, rather than income tax information, would be a more feasible approach.
  4. The backdating of EUC08 claims to December 29, 2013, would make it nearly impossible, in many cases, to apply a state’s weekly work search requirement, a key factor to determine eligibility for UI benefits and to avoid improper payments to claimants who are ineligible.

Please click the PDF above for the full letter and fact sheet.