Unemployment Insurance for Family Caregivers

Family caregivers in more than half of the states (27) can receive temporary financial assistance when returning to the workforce through state unemployment insurance programs. However, they must show if there is a “good cause" for job loss due to an illness or disability of an “ill family member.” This indicator has shown no significant improvement since the 2020 Scorecard, with only one additional state (Nebraska) enacting unemployment insurance legislation for family caregivers. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated paid workforce shortages, resulting in more hours of care and high-intensity care for family caregivers. While some caregivers may be able to alter their work schedules or take off for caregiving, others stand at risk of losing their jobs for reasons related to their family caregiver responsibilities. Access to unemployment insurance benefits is important now more than ever to protect the financial security of family caregivers.

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This indicator gives credit to states that have unemployment insurance laws or regulations that consider job loss due to an illness or disability of a member of the individual’s immediate family as “good cause.”

Scoring: States received 1 point if unemployment insurance laws or regulations include illness or disability of a member of the individual’s immediate family as “good cause” for voluntarily leaving a job.

Current year 2022 data obtained from US Department of Labor Comparison of State Unemployment Laws 2022. Reference year 2019 data obtained from communications with Richard McHugh, formerly with the National Employment Law Project.  

Richard McHugh unpublished internal communications, 2019. Re-scored using updated methodology in 2023. 

US Department of Labor  


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