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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: O'Leary, Christopher J.; Kline, Kenneth J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    During the Great Recession, both the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) program experienced dramatic increases in participation. Using Michigan program administrative data on all SNAP (2006–2011) recipients and all UI (2001–2010) applicants, we examine SNAP use before and after UI application. Both past and future receipts of SNAP are highly negatively correlated with meeting UI income and job separation eligibility requirements. Unemployment insurance applicants with insufficient wage credits or job separations because of quitting or employer discharge are much more likely to have received SNAP in the past. Furthermore, such UI applicants are also more likely to receive SNAP soon after applying for UI benefits. The data also indicate that as of the start of the Great Recession, UI applicants who received SNAP subsequent to UI filing began receiving those benefits sooner compared with UI applicants prior to the downturn. The models also suggest that SNAP receipt after UI application was higher among ineligible UI...

    During the Great Recession, both the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) program experienced dramatic increases in participation. Using Michigan program administrative data on all SNAP (2006–2011) recipients and all UI (2001–2010) applicants, we examine SNAP use before and after UI application. Both past and future receipts of SNAP are highly negatively correlated with meeting UI income and job separation eligibility requirements. Unemployment insurance applicants with insufficient wage credits or job separations because of quitting or employer discharge are much more likely to have received SNAP in the past. Furthermore, such UI applicants are also more likely to receive SNAP soon after applying for UI benefits. The data also indicate that as of the start of the Great Recession, UI applicants who received SNAP subsequent to UI filing began receiving those benefits sooner compared with UI applicants prior to the downturn. The models also suggest that SNAP receipt after UI application was higher among ineligible UI applicants, applicants who quit or were fired from prior jobs, those with prior recent SNAP receipt, prime age workers, females, those with education of less than a high school diploma, those having three to five years’ prior job tenure, and those with a separating job in retail trade, health care, or hospitality. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Moffitt, Robert A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    All developed economies have unemployment benefit programs to protect workers against major income losses during spells of unemployment. By enabling unemployed workers to meet basic consumption needs, the programs protect workers from having to sell their assets or accept jobs below their qualifications. The programs also help stabilize the economy during recessions. If benefits are too generous, however, the programs can lengthen unemployment and raise the unemployment rate. The policy challenge is to protect workers while minimizing undesirable side effects. (author introduction)

    All developed economies have unemployment benefit programs to protect workers against major income losses during spells of unemployment. By enabling unemployed workers to meet basic consumption needs, the programs protect workers from having to sell their assets or accept jobs below their qualifications. The programs also help stabilize the economy during recessions. If benefits are too generous, however, the programs can lengthen unemployment and raise the unemployment rate. The policy challenge is to protect workers while minimizing undesirable side effects. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: O'Leary, Christopher J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    Under all state unemployment insurance (UI) systems it is possible for claimants to collect benefits while employed and earning wages. The weekly benefit amount is usually unaffected for earnings below some threshold level, while earnings above the threshold frequently reduce the weekly benefit amount by some fraction of earnings.

    The legislature of Washington State authorized a field experiment to investigate if reemployment incentives in the UI partial benefit system could be improved by “allowing unemployment insurance claimants to keep a greater portion of their weekly benefits when engaged in part-time or temporary employment.” (author introduction)

    Under all state unemployment insurance (UI) systems it is possible for claimants to collect benefits while employed and earning wages. The weekly benefit amount is usually unaffected for earnings below some threshold level, while earnings above the threshold frequently reduce the weekly benefit amount by some fraction of earnings.

    The legislature of Washington State authorized a field experiment to investigate if reemployment incentives in the UI partial benefit system could be improved by “allowing unemployment insurance claimants to keep a greater portion of their weekly benefits when engaged in part-time or temporary employment.” (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Bradbury, Katharine
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    Economists often expect unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to elevate unemployment rates because recipients may choose to remain unemployed in order to continue receiving benefits, instead of accepting a job or dropping out of the labor force. This paper uses individual data from the Current Population Survey for the period between 2005 and 2013—a period during which the federal government extended and then reduced the length of benefit availability to varying degrees in different states—to investigate the influence of program parameters in the UI system on monthly transition rates of unemployed individuals. The main finding is that unemployed job losers tend to remain unemployed until they exhaust UI benefits, at which point they become more likely to drop out of the labor force; transitions to a job appear to be unaffected by UI benefit extensions. These findings imply that the longer periods of benefit eligibility under the federal programs EUC08 and EB—up to 99 weeks in many states in 2011 and 2012—contributed to the elevated jobless rates observed during that period, but...

    Economists often expect unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to elevate unemployment rates because recipients may choose to remain unemployed in order to continue receiving benefits, instead of accepting a job or dropping out of the labor force. This paper uses individual data from the Current Population Survey for the period between 2005 and 2013—a period during which the federal government extended and then reduced the length of benefit availability to varying degrees in different states—to investigate the influence of program parameters in the UI system on monthly transition rates of unemployed individuals. The main finding is that unemployed job losers tend to remain unemployed until they exhaust UI benefits, at which point they become more likely to drop out of the labor force; transitions to a job appear to be unaffected by UI benefit extensions. These findings imply that the longer periods of benefit eligibility under the federal programs EUC08 and EB—up to 99 weeks in many states in 2011 and 2012—contributed to the elevated jobless rates observed during that period, but not via lower employment. By the same token, the sharp contraction of benefit weeks that occurred in 2012 and continued more gradually in 2013 likely contributed to declines in unemployment and participation rates beyond what one would expect based on the improving economy alone. Similarly, the December 28, 2013 sudden cutoff of federal UI payments to an estimated 1.3 million jobless Americans who had been looking for work for more than six months is adding to the pace of transitions from unemployment to dropping out of the labor force, thus reducing the unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate further in the first half of 2014, although very modestly. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kearney, Melissa S.; Harris, Benjamin H.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    An extension of federal unemployment insurance (UI) was omitted from the budget deal recently worked out between Congressional leaders. With both the House and Senate now adjourned for the holidays, 1.3 million Americans will immediately lose their UI benefits on December 28th, with an additional 3.6 million jobless workers losing benefits over the next 12 months.

    The extended UI benefits, which were originally enacted during the Great Recession, were designed to provide the long-term unemployed with additional benefits if they are unable to find a job. Unemployment insurance continues to play a crucial role for many American families; in 2013, the average job finding rate was still 30 percent lower than the average from 1990-2007, prior to the Great Recession. Further, today there are still nearly three unemployed workers per job opening—roughly twice the competition faced before the recession.

    The issue of whether to extend unemployment benefits will re-emerge in early 2014. Advocates of an extension of UI benefits point out that these benefits accrue to...

    An extension of federal unemployment insurance (UI) was omitted from the budget deal recently worked out between Congressional leaders. With both the House and Senate now adjourned for the holidays, 1.3 million Americans will immediately lose their UI benefits on December 28th, with an additional 3.6 million jobless workers losing benefits over the next 12 months.

    The extended UI benefits, which were originally enacted during the Great Recession, were designed to provide the long-term unemployed with additional benefits if they are unable to find a job. Unemployment insurance continues to play a crucial role for many American families; in 2013, the average job finding rate was still 30 percent lower than the average from 1990-2007, prior to the Great Recession. Further, today there are still nearly three unemployed workers per job opening—roughly twice the competition faced before the recession.

    The issue of whether to extend unemployment benefits will re-emerge in early 2014. Advocates of an extension of UI benefits point out that these benefits accrue to unemployed workers and their families. The benefits help these individuals put food on the table and pay the rent at a time of extraordinary economic weakness. In doing so, these benefits serve in part to boost the economy as a whole as UI recipients maintain consumption. Skeptics of an extension point to both the monetary costs to government, but also to the potential costs of “enabling” UI recipients to spend less time and effort searching for work.

    In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project reexamines unemployment insurance. Our analysis highlights evidence suggesting that extended benefits provide a sizable boost for workers and the economy, but have little negative effect on unemployment duration—especially when the labor market is weak. (author introduction)

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