“The technologists who once overhauled the federal government’s HealthCare.gov website after the disastrous rollout of Obamacare are now being deployed to help modernize and streamline the nation’s aging unemployment insurance system, which buckled under a pandemic-driven wave of legitimate and fraudulent claims.
The U.S. Digital Service, an arm of the White House that works across the federal government to tackle big technological challenges, has embarked on a reconstruction that will cover the entire UI system, from initial claim filing to benefit appeals, according to a memo and presentation obtained by ProPublica through a public records request. ‘We envision a future in which the federal government provides software that states may use to fully administer their UI program,’ the agency said in the June memo to state UI systems…”
“The technology overhaul is a central piece of a $2 billion plan, funded by the $1.9 trillion stimulus legislation signed into law by President Joe Biden in March, to strengthen the nation’s overburdened and fraud-plagued UI system as it emerges from the busiest period in its 86-year history. At stake is whether millions of Americans will again face delays, fraud and frustration the next time the economy is rocked and workers turn to jobless aid to help them get by.
But even the agency spearheading the effort says broader, fundamental changes are needed, which can only come from Congress. ‘To be completely honest, the administrative fixes that we are proposing here will certainly go a very long way to making things better, but it’s not going to be fixed unless there’s underlying UI reform,’ said Michele Evermore, a deputy director of the newly established Office of Unemployment Insurance Modernization within the Labor Department. But, she added, ‘it’s not all that we need to fix UI, frankly.’…” Read the full article here.
Source: The Unemployment Insurance System Is Set to Get a Tech Makeover — but It Needs Much More, the Biden Administration Says – By Cezary Podkul, September 13, 2021. Nextgov.