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Policy

3:39pm December 31, 2012

Latino Immigrants Receive Fewer Unemployment Benefits

unemployment

Federal policy allows immigrants with lawful residency to qualify for unemployment benefits.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Latino unemployment stands at 10% while the national average sits at 7.7%, meaning a large number of Hispanic households could benefit from federal aid.

Yet a recent study by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) released this month shows that Latino immigrants are less likely than their white counterparts to receive unemployment insurance.

NELP is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. Their study shows that 35.1% of insurance recipients are white, while only 19.3% are Latino immigrants.

One reason why numbers are lower for Latinos is because they don’t apply for unemployment insurance as frequently as white workers.

According to NELP, 49.5% of unemployed whites apply for unemployment insurance, compared to only 34% of Hispanics.

Of those who do apply, 56.8% of Hispanics receive insurance, compared to 70.9% of white applicants.

Latino citizens showed higher numbers of application and approval than their immigrant counterparts, yet their numbers still fell below that of white, unemployed workers.

Applications for Hispanic citizens stood at 40.6% and their approval rate was of 60.1%.

So why aren’t more unemployed Hispanic immigrants applying for insurance?

The authors of the study say the main reason is because many jobless workers believe they are ineligible to receive benefits.

To qualify for unemployment insurance, applicants must meet state’s monetary eligibility rules — earn a predetermined wage and fill a certain number of work hours.

Hispanic workers hold higher numbers of low-wage, part-time jobs.

For this reason, many think they did not earn a high enough salary or work enough hours to meet the application requirements.

Another factor that affects jobless Hispanic workers from applying are obstacles in the application process along with language barriers.

The study points to Florida’s new claims-filling procedures as an example of how the application process is difficult for disadvantaged, Hispanic workers.

Florida requires workers to fill out an online application that includes a 45-question “initial skills review,” as oppose to speaking to someone over the phone.

The authors say, “the difficulties associated with these changes fall disproportionately on that state’s low-wage workforce, particularly individuals for whom English is not a first language.”

According to NELP, in 2011 27% of workers received unemployment insurance nationwide, while only 17% of unemployed workers in Florida received state unemployment benefits.

To raise the number of applicants who need help yet are not applying for state aid, NELP recommends the following:

  • There are no federal outreach programs to inform the public about unemployment insurance and their chances for eligibility. Since the study found there is a lower program knowledge among Latinos, NELP recommends starting awareness programs targeted at the Hispanics.
  • Research shows that both initial and continuing application rates are higher among states who perform employer filing. Employer filing means employers file claims on behalf of their former employees.
  • Make it mandatory for employers to inform former workers who involuntarily lose their jobs that they could be eligible for unemployment benefits and to provide instructions for applications. 

NELP’s  Unemployment Insurance Application and Receipt: Findings on Demographic Disparities and Suggestions for Change, takes into account recent unemployment trends but also relies on a 2005 supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS), the nation’s primary source of labor force statistics.

 



About the Author

Iris Estrada
Iris Estrada
American by birth, Mexican by blood, and curious by nature. Iris is a bilingual freelance writer who grew up on the Arizona-Mexico border then spent her teen years in the Dominican Republic. She moved to Canada to pursue her university degree in journalism and international development studies and is currently residing in Florida. As a proud Latina, Iris is passionate about covering stories that applaud diversity and center on issues affecting visible minorities. She's an advocate for immigration rights, a food-truck lover, and a self-proclaimed professional people-watcher.




 
 

 
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2 Comments


  1. ANOTHER COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM FALSEHOOD.

    Now there is a deal on the so called “Fiscal Cliff” although this agreement must be passed by the House, it seems so far there are no restrictions on spending by the Democrats. We, as Americans should get together and demand from the political parties an Amendment known as the BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP BILL and THE LEGAL WORKFORCE BILL, that makes more sense to the U.S. citizens who cannot find work and the “Anchor Baby Syndrome” to stop the fabricated law that makes any child smuggled through our borders or by airline a right to immediate citizenship. The low income families that were born here and the naturalized citizens, including green card holders suffer because every day millions of discount labor slip past a hundreds of miles of unguarded border brings in their young here taking advantage of American passive enforcement. THIS NATION CANNOT SUCCESSFULLY FULLY LOOK AFTER OUR OWN, BUT SPEND HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS ON THE IMPOVERISHED FROM OTHER COUNTRIES.

    OBAMA IS READY TO LAYOUT A PLAN FOR COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM. BUT IF HE INTENDS TO OFFER A PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP TO THE 11 MILLION (AN ESTIMATE WELL BELOW THE TRUE POPULATION) SUCH A POLICY WILL COST THE AMERICAN POPULACE OVER TWO TRILLION DOLLARS IN EXTRACTED TAXES, AS ACCORDING TO THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION.

    Mexico like so many other foreign nations is not so passive relating to its laws, whereas I guarantee that those same regimes laugh at us, behind our backs, especially our Southern neighbor. Immigration enforcement is not entirely about Mexico, but the failure of our government to track the 46 percent who fly from across the world impersonating a tourist. They are a real problem and a very costly issue, as they live like leeches, extort to pay for them and their children. Under Mexican law this doesn’t happen and compare it to our almost worthless restrictions:

    WHY ARE WE NOT DEALING WITH ILLEGAL AND LEGAL IMMIGRATION AS THE POLICY IN MEXICO?

    Mexico uses: 1) Allow easy entry – with both random and targeted searches but otherwise allowing unconstrained movement across the border, but able to track people. 2) Requires Visas from anyone intending to stay longer than 6 months. 3) Undocumented persons or expired Visa holders are fined and/or deported. 4) Any law enforcement entity can conduct Citizenship & Visa checks. 5) Workers are required to have “Right to Work” documentation – i.e. E-Verify. 6) Voters required having voting identification – i.e. IFE card. 7) Public School eligibility restricted by citizenship status. 8) Real-Estate purchase restricted by citizenship status. 9) Ability to own/operate certain businesses restricted by citizenship status. 10) Ability to organize a church or be a priest/pastor, etc. restricted by citizenship status. 11) Citizenship not granted to “anchor babies”. 12) “Free” Health care – for workers and retired workers only – i.e. contributors.

    Senator Sessions has found that this dysfunctional Obama administration has been advertising in Mexico that FOOD STAMPS are available here through SNAP. This program disbursement has continued to rise and spending has quadrupled in just over a decade to $80 billion in 2011 as part as the Department of Agriculture. Senator Sessions stated that SNAP, is the fastest growing major program in the U.S. government today and that the USDA is refusing to answer questions about this ominous promotion in Mexico.

    More draining of States, the U.S. treasury to pay for so called friends in incompetent foreign countries, and the dismissal of a once powerful military defense, conceding to huge cuts in budgets to pay for the spongers, scroungers and freeloaders amongst the population who have no intentions of finding employment. In this period of soaring job loss Washington should enact and support the LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT that contains a mandatory E-Verify provision, which would allow the official draining of many of the illegal aliens stealing jobs from Americans. Both political parties refuse to behave rationally and show the 24 million unemployed, that they mean business and condemn foreigners who under the impression that we owe them a living. If you want further information and are ready to investigate the lies of both the Democrats and Republicans, check out TEA PARTY.ORG, NUMBERSUSA, ALIPAC, JUDICIAL WATCH, FAIR, and AMERICAN PATROL. The American people should realize it is time for Public Campaign Contributions and not the theft of our liberties by the special interest groups of lobbyists, the wealthy, big unions, foreign governments, corporations (Domestic and International) and a whole range of other entities eviscerating the American population.

    I still believe that more foreign nationals voted in less restricted states, than American citizens.


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