Federal Neglect Leaves State Unemployment Insurance System in a State of Disrepair
Record levels of application-filing during the recession exposed major weaknesses in UI technology infrastructure. Laid-off workers who were already struggling to find work were forced to navigate extensive backlogs, jammed phone lines and often unreliable online claims systems. Read More
IT Mismatch: Confronting 21st Century Demands with 20th Century Technology
Despite an increasing reliance on phone and computer technology to process claims and collect taxes, modern UI administration suffers from inadequate funding and outdated technology, which means growing technology needs, including routine maintenance and system upgrades go unmet.
Congress should provide additional funding for staffing and information technology upgrades in the form a $600 million multi-year appropriation for UI program administration, and a one-time $300 million appropriation to upgrade state UI technology. To address access issues such as jammed phone lines, there should be more aggressive federal oversight through updated customer service standards and targeted enforcement.
“Federal underinvestment in state unemployment IT systems doesn’t save money in the long run. Not only do unemployed workers suffer when systems fail, but the government misses out on productivity gains and cost savings.”