How Louisiana’s Unemployment System Continues to Fail Families

As winter nears, thousands of Louisianans continue to struggle to access unemployment insurance due to the state’s failure to prioritize and address refusals in the system.  

NCLEJ continued our work to ensure that Louisianans can access these essential benefits by filing our opposition to the state’s second attempt to have our May lawsuit tossed out of court. 

“Louisiana’s unemployment system is so confusing that people are losing benefits – meaning their livelihoods – because of technical issues,” said Saima Akhtar, senior attorney at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice.  

The lawsuit addresses egregious procedures such as inadequate notice to claimants when benefits are terminated and long delays in processing claims for benefits and appeals. Some people report they did not receive legally required notice regarding a right to appeal a termination of benefits. Others experienced immediate termination of benefits during the appeal process. 

The unemployment insurance program, introduced during the Great Depression, was meant to help families withstand major fluctuations in income that could force them into staggering poverty. 

“At the core, the pandemic has revealed the precariousness of a system that is dependent on state and federal funding. Louisiana’s system needs an overhaul to ensure that the most vulnerable people in the state can access this important safety net. This class action suit is part of NCLEJ’s systemic advocacy and litigation to expand access to unemployment benefits across the country and ensure a meaningful safety net,” said Staff Attorney Katharine Deabler.