The nation's unemployment insurance program has run into a big problem, labor experts and advocates say. It is no longer able to provide protections to an expanding share of today's workers.
Unemployment insurance, established in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the Social Security Act, sends weekly checks to workers who have lost their job "through no fault of their own" while they look for another job.
Taxes are paid into the system by employers to cover an employee who loses a job. The basic program is run by the states, but the federal Department of Labor is the overseer. The average unemployment check is around $300 a week.
To qualify, however, you typically have to emerge from a traditional, W-2 employee arrangement. That means "alternative workers" — such as independent contractors and freelancers — generally do not qualify.