Latinos and the State of Unemployment Insurance and Government Benefits


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By Jackie Edwards
Contributing Writer

Unemployment insurance and government benefits are available to qualifying Latinos who lawfully reside in this country, federal policy states.

contruction work unemploymenetMany Latino homes could benefit from this aid.

In fact, more than 5% of adult Latino workers and 15% of teen Latino workers are unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But Latino immigrants are much less likely than their white counterparts to receive government benefits.

“Unemployment insurance benefits can provide crucial economic stability during unexpected job loss, provide for basic needs during a job search, and keep families out of poverty,” according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

Why Latinos Should Care about Federal Aid

A growing share of the U.S. workforce is made up of Latino workers, who work hard for benefits and wages that are typically insufficient to support their families, according to NELP research.

When layoffs occur, Latino workers often find themselves with no safety net.

In fact, they receive unemployment insurance benefits at a rate of around 25% less than other workers.

When it comes to government benefits, Latinas suffer both a gender and race gap. In addition, Latino working families face barriers to support during unemployment in many states.

Despite federal civil rights laws and the realities of our country’s diverse population requiring that everyone receive access to benefits no matter the language they speak, Latino immigrants are unable to apply for unemployment insurance because of language barriers.

Research has linked low benefit recipiency with states’ unwillingness to supply appropriate interpretation and translation.

What Can Be Done to Increase Latino Access to Benefits?

Latino access to government/social security benefits and unemployment insurance continues to be a problem.

NELP has come up with a number of ways to address this problem:

  • More than fourteen states maintain favorable policies for offering interpretation and translation in unemployment insurance processes to accommodate the linguistically and racially diverse workforce. State agencies can make sure that non-English speaking workers know how to access the benefits they are entitled to with simple outreach plans.
  • State policies that offer benefits to others who balance their daily family and work lives can supply equal access to Latina working women suffering from both gender and racial discrimination.
  • Latino workers are more likely to engage in seasonal, low-wage, temp agency, or part-time work. States can adopt policies that address these nonstandard arrangements and allow the jobless to access the benefits they have earned.


By The Numbers By The Numbers



of Latinos remain without health insurance coverage

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