Last Year for States to Modernize Unemployment Insurance with Recovery Act Incentive Funds

In February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) made $7 billion available to states to modernize their unemployment insurance programs. Since that time, both red and blue states have claimed nearly two-thirds of the total incentive funding, thus filling the gaps in the unemployment safety net while also helping to jump start their economies. However, time is running out fast to take advantage of the federal program. States only have until August 2011 to change their laws to qualify for the Recovery Act funds.

As a result of the reforms thus far adopted by the states, over 200,000 additional jobless Americans will have gained eligibility for benefits through the ARRA unemployment modernization program. These federal modernization funds have been making their way to the states just when they need the help most—to pay benefits, boost state unemployment trust funds and help more jobless families weather an extremely difficult jobs market.

Although a total of 39 states can now claim $4.3 billion in incentive funding, $2.7 billion remains unclaimed by the states with less than a year to go before the program expires. Eighteen states, including six that have already claimed one-third of their allotment of incentive funds, have so far left funds on the table. These funds provide states with a critical opportunity to bring their 1930’s era unemployment insurance programs in line with needs of today’s changing workforce

The map below documents the status of modernization funding: 33 states have moved to get full funding; 6 have draw down partial fundng and 12 that have not qualified for any of their allotment.

UI Modernization Map

State Legislative Updates

NEW September 3, 2010 NELP report documents unprecedented bi-partisan wave of unemployment insurance reforms in 2009 and 2010

Learn More about the Unemployment Insurance Modernization
Read NELP's fact sheet on Unemployment Insurance Modernization (updated December 2010)
What is my state's Unemployment Insurance Modernization Amount?
Resources for your state Unemployment Modernization campaign
Introduce legislation in your state implementing the UI Modernization (Updated February 18, 2010)
NELP Model Language for Unemployment Insurance Modernization Provisions
Find U.S. Department of Labor Answers to the most commonly asked questions about implementing the Alternative base period
Find U.S. Department of Labor Answers to the most commonly asked questions about implementing the other modernization provisions

UI Modernization Webinar:  NELP PowerPoint

UI Modernization Webinar:  DOL PowerPoint

Building a Modern Unemployment Program for North Dakota’s New Workforce

US Department of Labor Guidance on UI Modernization and other ARRA Provisions
UI Program Letter 32-09 " U.S. Department of Labor explains how states can still use modernization grants for administrative purposes.
UI Program Letter 27-09 (January 29, 2010) The U.S. Department of Labor encourages states to apply for UI incentive funds.
UI Program Letter 14-09 (November 30, 2009) US Department of Labor provides background advisory on Unemployment Modernization and other UI-related Recovery Act programs

Broad Spectrum of Groups Support the UIMA
Read about the broad support for UI modernization
Women's advocates strongly support modernization
Governors show Bipartisan support of Unemployment Insurance Modernization

UIMA in the News
About-Face: More States Accept Stimulus Funds,” NPR, August 17, 2010
"Anti-Stimulus Crusader Mark Sanford Quietly Accepts Funds He Pledged To Reject,” Think Progress, August 11, 2010
RI to get more than $15.6M for unemployment aid,” Associated Press, August 9, 2010
“State labor secretary lobbying for changes to modernize unemployment program,” Scranton Times Tribune, May 14, 2010
“Md. gets $127 million for unemployment fund,” Baltimore Sun, May 7, 2010
“Neb. goes after jobless aid,” Omaha World-Journal, April 9, 2010
“Democrats Aim to Boost Benefits,” Journal Gazette, February 18, 2010
“Unemployment Insurance: Updating Virginia’s System” Richmond Times Dispatch, February 17, 2010
“Va. Senate Favors Accepting Stimulus Jobless Funds,” Richmond Times Dispatch, February 10, 2010
“Stimulus Funds for Jobless?,” Omaha World Herald, February 8, 2010
“Unemployment Benefits Extended to Those Whose Spouse Relocates,” Denver Post, January 31, 2010
“Fed Money Available for Ala. Unemployed,” Birmingham Business Journal, January 29, 2010
"Schwarzenegger Agrees to Federal Conditions to Bolster Unemployment Fund," LA Times, February 25, 2009
"Stimulus Bill Would Bestow New Aid to Many Workers" New York Times, Feb. 14, 2009
"Stimulus would bring welcome relief to California," Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2009
"Not your grandfather's workforce, but it's still his unemployment insurancesystem,"Salem (OR) News, January 24, 2009
"States urged to help more jobless workers,", January 21, 2009

Editorial pages support UI modernization
“Unemployment Insurance Deal is Good for Business,”
Baltimore Sun, March 1, 2010 (editorial)
"Right Approach to State Aid," The New York Times, March 1, 2009 (editorial)
"What Part of ‘Stimulus' Don't They Get?"
New York Times, Feb. 24, 2009 (editorial)
"The Governors and Handouts" The Baltimore Sun, February 24, 2009(editorial)
"Take the Stimulus Money," Charleston Post and Courier, February 24, 2009 (editorial)