WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on unemployment issues and the Department of Labor.
“I just spoke with the Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia about Department of Labor (DOL) efforts to assist states struggling with unemployment claims. DOL is providing much needed guidance and technical assistance regarding the operation of unemployment systems and how to implement the CARES Act.
“Our state-based unemployment systems are being overrun by the volume of claims and the structure of the benefits under the CARES Act is actually incentivizing people to leave the workforce, compounding problems.
“States are rapidly running out of unemployment reserves due to the volume of applications. Many of these state systems have outdated technology, slowing down benefit delivery. DOL is doing the best they can to help these states modernize.
“The CARES Act created a system that can provide many hourly employees a fifty percent or more increase in wages if they choose unemployment instead of staying on payrolls. The money appropriated to help state unemployment systems must be revisited in any Phase 4 legislation.
“DOL has an all-hands-on-deck approach, but I do believe securing the assistance of former governors and others to help modernize the system would be greatly beneficial to the cause. The unemployment benefit package provides families with the money they need to pay the bills, acting as a bridge until we can safely reopen the economy.”