Action for Unemployment
On Tuesday, April 21, I joined the AMOS IOWA Unemployment Benefits online action. Beth Townsend, Director at Iowa Workforce Development shared about their efforts to improve the process for our neighbors to access unemployment benefits. The program had to rapidly change their processes, add staff, and upgrade their technology to address the huge increase in applications. Staff are working long hours nearly every day of the week: IWD put out 100 million dollars last week in benefits, and Iowa is one of a handful of states that have implemented benefits for self-employed persons.
Townsend listened to concerns and suggestions from AMOS members, such as expanding the language options for the phone application process and adding a hold message to instruct callers to stay on the line (anyone who has called knows that it strangely goes silent). Many legislators were present to listen to AMOS member concerns.
Our State and Federal safety net programs have been woefully underfunded for years, making it very difficult for them to mobilize in the face of this disaster. I have been an advocate for these programs for years—and will continue to be in the State Senate!