Guest blogger Jackie Edwards is an editor, researcher, and writer.
As of September of 2017, 4.4 percent of the population in the United States is unemployed. For those out of work, making ends meet is difficult at best. With the rising costs of housing and other basic needs, a sudden loss of income can be devastating. Depending on the severity of one’s circumstances, essentials such as food, water, clothing, and housing can be impossible to afford. This situation becomes even more challenging the longer one remains out of work.
One of the top sources of help for those who are unemployed are nonprofit organizations. Those that specialize in meeting the needs of these individuals help bridge the gap that usually exists between one’s unemployment benefits and personal savings and their actual needs. If your nonprofit organization is seeking grants to support its unemployment assistance program, utilizing the latest unemployment data in your grant proposals is crucial. By demonstrating the current and ongoing need for unemployment assistance (especially as it relates to the specific benefits provided in your state), you are more likely to earn the grants your program needs to thrive. Review the most up-to-date statistics on why nonprofit unemployment assistance is absolutely essential for your community.
Demonstrate the Need for Nonprofit Unemployment Assistance
Depending on what state you live in, the scope of the maximum unemployment benefits allowed varies significantly. While the weekly financial assistance certainly helps individuals who are out of work, the maximum weekly assistance is not enough to cover one’s most basic expenses in most states. Here are some impactful aspects of unemployment benefits that vary by state. Find out the specifics for your state and include them in the NEED section of your proposal.
- The maximum unemployment benefit listed for each state is not a guaranteed figure for all individuals. Instead, the actual weekly assistance one receives is calculated based on their previous earnings.
- Not all individuals who are unemployed are eligible to receive unemployment benefits from the state. Factors such as the length of time worked in a position, being fired or quitting, and the amount of compensation earned can prevent individuals from receiving any financial benefits.
- Financial benefits end at 26 weeks in the majority of states. This gives an individual approximately six months to find work that can cover all of his or her current expenses.
- Some states offer unemployment benefits for time periods less than 26 weeks in duration. These states include: Arkansas (20 weeks maximum), Florida (12 weeks maximum), Georgia (14 weeks maximum), Idaho (21 weeks maximum), Kansas (16 weeks maximum), Michigan (20 weeks maximum), Missouri (13 weeks maximum), North Carolina (13 weeks maximum), and South Carolina (20 weeks maximum).
- In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 40.8 percent of all unemployed job seekers were unemployed for 15 or more weeks. Additionally, 25.9 percent of all unemployed job seekers were unemployed for more than 27 weeks. Those who were part of the latter statistic who were living in a state that discontinues unemployment benefits after 26 weeks or less would have stopped receiving all benefits.
- In late 2014, only 23 percent of unemployed job seekers in the U.S. were actually getting unemployment assistance from the government.
Use specifics for your state to show that many people who need financial assistance during their time of unemployment are not receiving it when needed. In addition, those who do receive unemployment benefits often do not receive enough to cover the cost of all basic needs.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median full-time weekly earnings for all employed workers in 2016 was $832.
- Currently, the highest maximum weekly unemployment benefit available in any state is $742 in Massachusetts. This amount is significantly higher than most other states. Some states offer a weekly maximum benefit of under $300. This includes Alabama ($265 maximum), Arizona ($240 maximum), Mississippi ($235 maximum), and Tennessee ($275 maximum).
- While the majority of other states offer between $300-$600 per week, many people receive less than the maximum. And even maximum benefits provide barely enough financial support to cover the average monthly rent in most states. This leaves a major gap for expenses such as food, medical supplies, and more.
Who is Using Unemployment Assistance?
Unemployment impacts individuals of all ages from various socioeconomic backgrounds. As a result, the families of these individuals also feel the burden of unpaid bills and the lack of basic items. Having access to essential unemployment assistance resources is key to helping provide individuals (and their families) with the support they need most.
- In findings reported in 2015 and 2016 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates are almost identical among men and women.
- According to the same report, more individuals that have never been married are unemployed than those who are married, divorced, separated, or widowed.
- As stated earlier, in order to qualify for government unemployment assistance, individuals must lose their job due to no fault of their own. However, some exceptions exist in certain states.
Support your proposal with data from your own population in addition to state and national statistics.
Show Impact of Increase Grant Funding for Basic Needs
Make it a point to show how your nonprofit organization is meeting the needs of those who are unemployed. Provide specific figures when possible on the estimated dollar amount your organization gives to unemployed individuals, as well as the resulting impact for the recipients and their families. Demonstrate with data how your nonprofit is closing the unemployment benefit gap to help your proposals succeed.
Unemployment Granting Agencies
There are many programs that help fund unemployment assistance organizations. Here are a couple notable ones. If you contact The Grant Helpersand explain your specific situation, we can help you find others.
Jobs Plus Initiative Program
This Department of Housing and Urban Development Program aims to significantly increase employment and income of public housing residents through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement technology skills and financial literacy. Public Housing Authorities are eligible to apply.
Robert R. McCormick Foundation
This private foundation aims to address poverty by giving individuals the skills to become self-sufficient. Eligible programs include those that provide transitional jobs, hard-skills training, youth skills training, and systems support.