April 28, 2020

Sen. Van Hollen, Rep. Phillips Announce Eligibility of Peace Corps, AmeriCorps Volunteers for Unemployment Assistance

Members Urged DOL to Provide this Guidance in April 2 Letter

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and U.S. Representative Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) announced that theDepartment of Labor has put out guidance confirming the eligibility of Peace Corps and AmeriCorps participants for unemployment assistance due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In a bipartisan letter sent April 2, 2020, the Members urged Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia to clarify that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program passed within the CARES Act covers Peace Corps and AmeriCorps participants. As the Members pointed to in their letter, this designation is in line with Congressional intent, but DOL guidance released today provides certainty. 

“For decades, Peace Corps and AmeriCorps volunteers have served our country at home and abroad – promoting democracy, literacy, development and good will. Today, these men and women – thousands of whom have been recalled – deserve the same safety net provided to others at this moment of need. I’m glad to see the Department of Labor follow Congressional intent and provide the certainty of this relief,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“The Peace Corps represents the very best in American leadership on a global stage, with volunteers serving alongside communities in their fight against sickness, hunger, and economic insecurity. We must honor that commitment in this time of economic turmoil. I am thankful for the leadership of Senators Wyden and Van Hollen, and for the Department of Labor’s willingness to listen,” said Representative Phillips.

The full text of the Members’ letter to the Department of Labor is available here. The Members were joined in sending the letter by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representatives David Trone (D-Md.), Gregario Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-M.P.), Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Angie Craig (D-Minn.), David Price (D-N.C.), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Ami Bera, M.D. (D-Calif.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Anthony Brown (D-Md.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), and Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.).