By Carlie Christensen
On Wednesday, March 18, Congress approved and the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201. This bill is the second in a series of packages expected to be enacted in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes a number of provisions aimed at stabilizing and ensuring access to unemployment insurance. This includes $1 billion in 2020 for immediate additional funding and emergency grants to states for the administration of unemployment insurance.
As outlined by the Democratic staff of the House Ways & Means Committee, the bill includes the following:
The funding would be distributed in the same proportions as regular UI administrative funding provided through annual appropriations.
The remaining $500 million would be reserved for emergency grants to states which experienced at least a 10 percent increase in unemployment. Those states would be eligible to receive an additional grant, in the same amount as the initial grant, to assist with costs related to the unemployment spike. It would also be required to take steps to temporarily ease eligibility requirements that might be limiting access to UI during the COVID-19 outbreak. This would include work search requirements, required waiting periods, and requirements to increase employer UI taxes if they have high layoff rates. Depending on the state, those actions might require changes in state law or might just require changes in state policy.
Equifax will continue to monitor and review any new information released by the states. If you are an Unemployment Cost Management client, rest assured we are prepared to scale to meet changes in unemployment claim processes or volume over the coming weeks and will continue to help meet your needs.