Bridging the Unemployment Insurance Gap in New York State

Advocates and legislators in New York State are currently considering the widest-ranging program in the country to fill key gaps in its unemployment insurance system: the Unemployment Bridge Program.

The New York proposal comes as states around the country are working in a number of ways to improve unemployment compensation, drawing on lessons from the emergency expansions of the past two years. Two key programs that inform these efforts are the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which included self-employed and many other workers, and the 12 state-level programs (plus one in the District of Columbia) that provided one-time aid to immigrants who are undocumented.

Colorado is the first state to move in this direction, establishing a permanent program to allow immigrants who are undocumented to apply for unemployment compensation if they lose work and would qualify for unemployment insurance but for their immigration status.

The New York proposal, (A4821/S3192), would extend coverage to four categories of workers who cannot access regular unemployment insurance benefits:

• immigrants without work authorization

• self-employed people and freelancers

• domestic workers and day laborers

• people re-entering the work force after a period of incarceration

Immigration Research Initiative estimates that the UBP would mean that 750,000 people would gain a degree of economic security knowing that they could be covered by the program if they lose work, and 30,000 people are expected to benefit at any given time.

Click the links below for:

A one-page overview of the IRI analysis of the Unemployment Bridge Program.

Details about how many people would benefit, the cost of the program, and methodology for the estimates.

• How UBP would benefit every region of New York State: Northern and Western New York, Capital District, Mid-Hudson Valley, Lower Hudson Valley, Long Island and New York City.

• Data on how the UBP would address racial inequities in the unemployment insurance system.