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New Task Force on Unemployment Insurance at the National Academy of Social Insurance

For Immediate Release: December 22, 2020

Contact: Elaine Weiss at 202-243-7280

The nonpartisan National Academy of Social Insurance has launched a Task Force on Unemployment Insurance (UI) to help policymakers across the country and new federal leaders improve key aspects of the UI program. Over the next 8-10 months, the 19 members of the UI Task Force (see list below) will identify, assess, evaluate, and document a range of options to address weaknesses in the UI system.


“The Academy’s goal with this Task Force is to equip policymakers with the evidence and framework needed to restructure and strengthen UI by providing a range of options to make the UI system more effective, efficient, and equitable,” said William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer of the Academy.


According to Elaine Weiss, the Academy’s Policy Director: “Unemployment Insurance could be improved to address systemic racism in the labor market and to better protect the incomes of all workers and their families. A restructured UI system will do more to reduce poverty in times of crisis, such as what we’re experiencing today, and more effectively cushion the economy.”


Academy Senior Fellow and widely recognized UI expert Steven Wandner will serve as Principal Investigator, supported by Task Force co-chairs Michele Evermore, of the National Employment Law Project, and Till von Wachter, of UCLA. Together, they will guide the Task Force’s review of extensive existing research and various suggested reforms.


“I am thrilled that the Academy is convening this thoughtful group of experts to explore ways to improve the nation’s unemployment insurance system, which has been frustrating and insufficient for many workers and at the same time, a critical lifeline for others,” said Michele Evermore.


“In California during the COVID-19 crisis we have seen up close the importance of Unemployment Insurance – and the human cost of not addressing the system's well-known shortcomings,” said Till von Wachter. “By bringing together UI researchers and practitioners, this Task Force will deliver actionable recommendations for UI reform at a time when they are needed most.”


UI Task Force members include experts in federal UI administration, state UI implementation, Social Security administration, labor policy, and practical support for jobless workers, as well as actuaries.


 


Unemployment Insurance Task Force Members


Co-Chair: Michele Evermore, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst, National Employment Law Project


Co-Chair: Till von Wachter, Professor, University of California Los Angeles


Principal Investigator: Stephen Wandner, Senior Fellow, National Academy of Social Insurance


David Balducchi, U.S. Department of Labor, retired


Kathryn Bakich, Senior Vice President, The Segal Group


Elizabeth Bauer, FSA, Forbes Senior Contributor and independent actuary


Judy Chesser, Social Security Administration, retired


Calvin Colbert, Vice President, Challenger, Gray & Christmas


Althea Erickson, Vice President of Global Public Policy & Impact, Etsy


Debra Fitzpatrick, Policy and Legislative Affairs Director, Children’s Defense Fund


Ben Gitis, Senior Policy Analyst, Bipartisan Policy Center


Heidi Hartmann, Distinguished Economist In-Residence for Gender and Economic Analysis, American University


Shaun O’Brien, Assistant Director, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)


Christopher O’Leary, Senior Economist, Upjohn Institute


Rob Pavosevich, U.S. Department of Labor, retired


Ralph E. Smith, Congressional Budget Office, retired


William Spriggs, Chief Economist, AFL-CIO


Andrew Stettner, Senior Fellow, Century Foundation


James Van Erden, Senior Policy Advisor, National Association of State Workforce Agencies

Since the National Academy of Social Insurance was founded in 1986, it has provided rigorous inquiry and insights into the functioning of our nation’s social insurance programs – Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation. Comprised of over 1,100 Members – the nation’s top experts in social insurance and related policies and programs – the Academy studies how social insurance can continue to meet the changing needs of American families, employees, and employers, including uninsured or underinsured economic risks. To learn more about the Academy’s work, please visit www.nasi.org, or follow @socialinsurance on Twitter.