How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has and Should Reshape the American Safety Net

35 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020 Last revised: 29 Jan 2021

See all articles by Andrew Hammond

Andrew Hammond

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Ariel Jurow Kleiman

Loyola Law School Los Angeles

Gabriel Scheffler

University of Miami School of Law

Date Written: June 12, 2020

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered an unprecedented shock to the United States and the world. It is unclear precisely how long the twin crises, epidemiological and economic, will last, and it is difficult to gauge the extent and direction of the changes in American life these crises will cause. Nonetheless, it is beyond dispute that the COVID-19 pandemic is putting significant strain on both the ability of Americans to meet basic needs and our government’s capacity to assist them. Federal, state, and local governments have responded in various ways to deploy existing safety net programs like Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), tax credits, and unemployment insurance to meet the surge in need. At this early stage of the crisis, it is worth a) identifying the ways in which the pandemic feeds on and exacerbates both racial and economic inequality in America, b) analyzing the government response in detail, c) considering which changes should outlast the current crisis, and d) addressing how government, in the future, should build social welfare programs that are better suited to meet the needs of all Americans in the coming years. This Essay tries to do these four things in a way that is cogent and useful to legal and lay audiences alike.

Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, CARES Act, social provision, health insurance, direct payments, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, SNAP, food assistance, child allowance, tax, tax policy, recovery rebate, Families First

JEL Classification: H53, I13, I14, I1, I3, I38, I30, J65, K34, K32

Suggested Citation

Hammond, Andrew and Jurow Kleiman, Ariel and Scheffler, Gabriel, How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has and Should Reshape the American Safety Net (June 12, 2020). 105 Minn. L. Rev. Headnotes 154 (2020), San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 20-455, University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper No. 20-48, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3625965 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3625965

Andrew Hammond

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

Ariel Jurow Kleiman (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States

Gabriel Scheffler

University of Miami School of Law ( email )

1311 Miller Dr.
Coral Gables, FL FL 33146
United States

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