Urgent: Unemployment Insurance for all Minnesotans Regardless of Age


URGENT: Don't Let Legislators Leave Without Repealing Unemployment Insurance Laws that Discriminate Based on Age

Legislators are about to adjourn without repealing two Minnesota laws that deny workers Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits solely based on their age. Two laws from eras when high school students were rarely in the labor force and retirement savings were robust enough to support older adults, penalize laid off workers based on their age:
1. Reducing or eliminating UI benefits for some workers who either receive, have applied for, or intend to apply for Social Security benefits. Minnesota is the only state in the nation that reduces or denies altogether UI benefits for certain workers receiving Social Security benefits.
2. Prohibiting all secondary students from qualifying for UI benefits.
Without the additional UI benefits designed to protect them, many high school and older workers are struggling financially. Workers, young and old, can't wait to receive the very benefits designed to protect them in a crisis. These laws need to be repealed now!
Contact your Senator today. Ask them to support an immediate repeal of the offset and to repeal the law prohibiting high school workers from collecting UI benefits. Tell them workers - young and old - are struggling and can't wait.
This is a simple issue of fairness – workers should not be treated differently from other workers simply because they are in high school or receiving Social Security retiree benefits. And they shouldn't have to wait for benefits during this economic crisis.
Coalition partners include: Youthprise, Bridgemakers, and AARP Minnesota.
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Support Immediate Repeal of Unfair UI Laws
Dear Decision Maker,

While SF 1098 seeks to repeal unfair laws that prohibit high school students and older workers with Social Security from receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, it fails to provide immediate relief to workers who have lost their jobs during the pandemic and need help now. Under the current proposal, benefits to these workers would be delayed, asking these workers to wait several years to collect UI benefits. This does nothing to address the financial crisis at hand. I urge you to adopt the House position which repeals these laws immediately.

These laws are from eras when high school students were rarely in the labor force and retirement savings were robust enough to support older adults. Neither reflect today's realities for young and old, especially those in low income and often racially diverse communities.

Despite its critical importance, Social Security benefits are modest, meaning people receiving Social Security often need to work. In fact, older workers are the fastest growing segment of the workforce.

In our modern economy, high school students and seniors need to work to support themselves and their families. This often includes paying for basic needs like rent, food, and utilities; affording lifesaving prescription drugs; or financing their own or their children's college educations.

I understand the concerns around the deficit in the UI Trust Fund but it's important to note that these workers' employers have already paid into the UI system on their behalf and, therefore, should have a right to these benefits when facing unprecedented financial hardship. That is why it's only right that high school students and certain older workers receiving Social Security benefits be eligible for UI if they meet the same guidelines as their co-workers. This is an issue of fairness.

I urge you to repeal these unfair laws that penalize workers solely on age and make it effective immediately. Now, more than ever, we need to take action to improve the financial security of all Minnesota workers who find themselves out of work due to the pandemic.

Thank you in advance for taking swift action to address the needs of young and older workers.


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