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Administrative burdens in the time of Covid-19

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.


Economic Support, Employment, Means-Tested Programs, Social Insurance Programs, Unemployment/Nonemployment


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