Unemployment insurance (UI) is a deeply complex political, legal, social, and technological space. In order to try to make sense of it, we have created a journey map to visualize not only how people interact with the system but how the system itself works, including what UI agencies have to do to administer it. UI systems have been underfunded for a long time, with challenges and vulnerabilities that were only exacerbated by the unprecedented volume of claims during the pandemic.

This report summarizes some of those challenges within the journey map framework, and provides recommendations for how states, the US Department of Labor, and other key actors could increase the effectiveness and efficiency of UI administration.

Diagram of key tasks done by claimant, agency, and employer over the course of a UI claim (and how they interact with other government entities)