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News Release

ETA News Release: [09/27/2012]
Contact Name: Jason Kuruvilla or Dave Roberts
Phone Number: (202) 693-6587 or x5945
Release Number: 12-1951-NAT

US Department of Labor boosts Unemployment Insurance program integrity, performance and system improvement projects

30 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands receive funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced grants to 30 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands for Unemployment Insurance program integrity, performance and system improvement projects. The grants will support the integrity of the UI program through the prevention, detection and recovery of improper UI benefit payments by assisting states in addressing the core root causes of UI improper payments, updating information technology system infrastructures, and expanding their use of re-employment and eligibility assessments, which have been shown to be an effective strategy for reducing improper payments.

"Unemployment Insurance is a critical lifeline for people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, and the Department of Labor is responsible for safeguarding the program so that it remains available to those who need it," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "This funding will help ensure that state UI programs run efficiently and effectively for the long term."

Activities supported through today's awards of a total of $169.9 million include conducting cross-matching with the National Directory of New Hires to prevent UI payments to re-employed claimants; implementing the State Information Data Exchange System and related messaging tools to target improper payments of those moving across state lines; and implementing the Treasury Offset Program administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which allows offsetting UI overpayments with federal income tax returns.

Additionally, three grants are being awarded to consortia in multiple states for projects designed to improve overall program quality, accountability, performance and integrity. The consortia approach minimizes the cost of multiple states implementing expensive system redesigns while achieving important program integrity functionality. Since 2009, the department has funded three consortia involving 11 states. This new investment will fund an additional three state consortia involving nine states. Consortia grants will be used to design and implement UI tax and/or benefit systems and implement technology-based tools designed to prevent, detect or collect and recover improper UI payments. Under the terms of the grant, the systems and tools must be open-source, allowing all states to benefit from them. Past consortia grants have resulted in new software solutions that incorporate important integrity functions, such as improved cross-matching, and the integration of Separation Information Data Exchange Systems to facilitate improved communication between states and employers regarding individual eligibility.

Finally, eight states are receiving funds to expand their use of re-employment and eligibility assessments. In-person assessments include the development of a re-employment plan for claimants; the provision of labor market information that is appropriate to the claimants' locations and employment prospects; a complete review of claimants' eligibility for UI benefits; and a referral to re-employment services and/or training separate from the UI program. Research has shown that re-employment and eligibility assessments are effective at reducing improper payments and saving money in the UI system.

These integrity investments will work in conjunction with other strategies being utilized to hold states accountable for improved prevention, detection and recovery of improper payments, including newly required annual reporting on state actions to address improper payments, new state performance measures, and quarterly tracking of state implementation of core strategies and individual state improper payment data. Individual state improper payment data can be viewed at http://www.dol.gov/dol/maps/map-ipia.htm.

Editor's note: A complete list of funds awarded follows this release.




Awards for Unemployment Insurance program integrity, performance and system improvement projects

Summary of Awards


Funding Category

Amount

Program Integrity — Core and Incentives

$67,043,138

Information Technology Consortium Projects

$92,822,139

Expansion of State Re-employment and Eligibility Assessment Program

$10,048,256

Total = $169,913,533


Program Integrity Awards


State

Amount

Alabama

$2,010,978

Arizona

$1,994,424

Colorado

$1,386,616

District of Columbia

$2,096,598

Florida

$981,180

Georgia

$1,785,720

Hawaii

$734,477

Idaho

$2,425,727

Illinois

$2,728,072

Iowa

$3,106,967

Kentucky

$2,849,964

Louisiana

$2,528,863

Maine

$958,305

Maryland

$2,015,301

Massachusetts

$2,277,585

Mississippi

$2,528,587

Nebraska

$2,067,821

Nevada

$1,296,120

New Hampshire

$2,350,000

New Jersey

$2,076,685

New Mexico

$3,127,115

New York

$2,606,500

North Carolina

$1,170,265

North Dakota

$403,197

Ohio

$3,221,722

Oregon

$2,420,540

Puerto Rico

$1,418,309

Rhode Island

$2,130,000

South Carolina

$1,826,907

Tennessee

$1,442,410

Virgin Islands

$1,016,980

Washington

$3,645,693

Wisconsin

$2,413,510

Total = $67,043,138


Consortium Project Awards


Consortium

Amount

Mississippi (lead), Maine and Rhode Island

$90,000,000

Rhode Island (lead), Utah and Wisconsin

$825,840

New Mexico (lead), Florida and Massachusetts

$1,996,299

Total = $92,822,139


Re-employment and Eligibility Assessment Program Awards


State

Amount

Georgia

$339,358

Nevada

$1,094,200

New Mexico

$94,090

North Carolina

$777,655

Oregon

$1,746,000

Rhode Island

$1,136,237

Tennessee

$2,665,966

Washington

$2,194,750

Total = $10,048,256