Examples from states and territories in their unemployment insurance modernization journeys

The U.S. Department of Labor is working with states, territories, and the public to develop strategies to continuously improve the nation’s unemployment insurance (UI) systems

This site highlights how the Department of Labor is empowering states to better serve people as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

ARPA provided $2 billion to the Department of Labor for Unemployment Insurance Modernization with 3 specific goals: to detect and prevent fraud, ensure timely payment of benefits, and promote equitable access. By providing targeted grants to states & territories, better guidance and direct assistance, and piloting technological solutions, DOL will build trust and resilience in the nation’s UI systems through common tools and approaches which states choose to adopt.

We’ll continue to add examples over time and welcome your feedback on this site.

  • Use plain language for unemployment applications

    See sample UI intake questions that could make application forms clearer and more accessible. These samples use plain language developed by expert content strategists in collaboration with Arkansas, New Jersey, and USDOL.

    Use plain language

  • Go mobile-friendly with media queries

    See New Jersey’s transformation to a mobile responsive UI application, and learn how to use cascading style sheet (CSS) media queries to improve your site’s mobile responsiveness without needing to upgrade your software stack or infrastructure.

  • Use a design system with built-in accessibility and mobile-responsiveness

    The U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) is a set of user interface components that makes it easy to build accessible and usable government websites.

  • Use automated quality and unit-testing tools

    One challenge in maintaining a complex system is allowing for changes to be made quickly, without putting the quality and stability of the system at risk. To meet this challenge, implement automated, real-time (or near real-time) quality feedback mechanisms.

  • Change the frontend without changing the backend

    See how New Jersey changed form questions and mapped the changes to existing database requirements without changing the backend. This enables changes on form questions without a significant tech overhaul.

  • Use plain language for claimant notices

    See how you can use plain language to improve the clarity of determination notices sent to claimants. The language was developed by policy experts and content strategists in the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) and the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

  • Ways to approach mobile friendliness

    Learn about the benefits of making your site mobile friendly, three approaches to doing so, and steps you can take today to improve your claimants' experience.

See code for an entire sample UI application

This open-source sample code was developed as a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Labor, New Jersey (initial claims intake), and Arkansas (integration with login.gov). The sample includes code for the full claim form, online identity verification through login.gov, and scaffolding for retrieving the 1099-G and for showing claim status, and it exemplifies equitable customer experience, accessible design, and technology best practices.


About ARPA and the Claimant Experience Pilot

All of the work shown on this site to date came from the Claimant Experience Pilot engagement between U.S. Department of Labor, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services funded through ARPA. Learn more about ARPA and the funding it provides to states.

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Interested in getting involved? Email the UI Modernization Team

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