- Pamela Herd and Donald Moynihan
- October 2020
- Link to Focus-36-3b (PDF)
- Link to Focus-Plus-36-3 (PDF)
This article examines the role of administrative burden—the barriers that people may encounter when dealing with the government—in constraining access to pandemic relief.
- It is difficult for individuals to get needed assistance from most U.S. social safety net programs due to their design.
- The Covid-19 crisis has strained programs beyond the breaking point, with many people unable to quickly apply for and receive needed unemployment benefits and public assistance.
- Social Security in the United States and safety nets in Europe offer models for programs that deliver benefits with little burden on the individual.
- Shifting administrative burdens from individuals to the government would get benefits to more people more quickly.