Even as nearly 17 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits in the past three weeks — a record high, by far — millions of people appear to be falling through the cracks. They can’t get through jammed phone systems or finish their applications on overloaded websites. Or they’re confused about whether or how to apply.
And now there is a whole new category of people — gig workers, independent contractors and self-employed people like Cruse. The federal government’s $2.2 trillion economic relief package for the first time extended unemployment aid to cover those workers when they lose their jobs. Yet most states have yet to update their systems to process these applications.
The struggles at U.S. unemployment systems run by the states contrasts with the smoother and more robust protections that many European governments provide for millions who have been thrown out of work as a result of the viral outbreak. In France, for example, 5.8 million people — about a quarter of the private-sector workforce — are now on a “partial unemployment” plan: With the government’s help, they receive part of their wages while temporarily laid off or while working shorter hours.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ US gig workers and self-employed face delays in jobless aid