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Unemployment Insurance 101

The Brief

Unemployment insurance (UI) is America’s primary safety net for jobless workers. Jointly administered by the federal government and each state, UI provides relief to eligible unemployed workers by replacing a portion of their wages for a limited time. The U.S. Department of Labor  oversees UI while states retain significant latitude to administer their own programs. The result is a complex system with multiple trust funds, tax rates, and benefit levels across the country. This series of explainers is intended to help readers understand how that system works.

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