Unemployment Insurance Program

Uniform UI technology across the states

Description :

In many states, workers applying for unemployment benefits struggle with confusing and/or difficult to follow instructions and steps; restrictive hours to access state unemployment websites and mobile services; state websites that are not optimized for the mobile phones that are the primary or only way many workers access the internet; obstacles to resetting login information and passwords; a lack of translation or interpretation services that allow speakers of languages other than English to apply for benefits; and a host of other technological barriers that disproportionately impact people of color, immigrants, and people with disabilities. To address these problems, the Department of Labor should create a modern, worker-focused technology system that states can easily adopt and use to deliver unemployment benefits. Ideally, the USDOL should create and manage a centralized initial claim filing and identity verification system all states can use, while each state continues to handle claims processing and determinations. In setting up this type of system, the DOL must work to eliminate the well-documented biases against people of color and immigrants in existing identity verification systems. All technology upgrades must also include upgrades and enhancements to call center services so they are accessible to workers without internet access. Creating easy to understand and accessible applications and combating the large scale identify theft crimes are national problems that should have national solutions. Leaving it up to individual state agencies that are already ill-equipped and do not have the pertinent expertise is inefficient and hinders workers' access and state agency ability to focus on making timely payment to claimants. The federal government already has expertise and deep knowledge of proper identity verification systems that can be implemented for UI system.

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Idea No. 193