WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of funds for states to improve program integrity, performance, and technology infrastructure systems for the Unemployment Insurance program. The grants are intended to accelerate actions to reduce UI improper payment rates; provide an opportunity for modernizing UI tax and benefits systems, and enable the design of technology-based tools to prevent, detect and recover improper UI payments.
"The unemployment insurance program is a lifeline to people who have lost a job through no fault of their own," said Eric Seleznow, acting assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. "We have a responsibility to ensure this program is run efficiently and effectively so that this critical safety net continues to be available in the future."
In Fiscal Year 2011, ETA provided $192 million in supplemental grant awards to 42 states for integrity activities. In FY 2012, a total of $169 million in supplemental grant awards was provided to 33 states for the prevention, detection, and recovery of improper UI benefit payments. The FY 2013 funding provides an opportunity for states to go beyond improper payments to focus on additional UI technology system improvements, data exchange enhancements for UI for Ex-military Service members, and integration of state UI, Employment Service, and Workforce Investment Act IT systems.
In order to qualify for FY2013 funding, states must implement or commit to implement a set of core integrity strategies. The core strategies include a business process analysis for state workforce agencies with improper payment rates above 10 percent and for agencies identified for poor performance concerning first payment and appeals timeliness; the implementation or expansion of the State Information Data Exchange System; the implementation of a state-specific prevention strategy for reducing improper payments; and a commitment to maintaining a state integrity cross-functional task force.
In addition, states committing to implement all of the core activities, or have already implemented the core activities, will be eligible to apply for technology infrastructure project funding. These funds will be used to modify and/or develop one of the core UI benefits or tax and benefit system designs; design additional core UI tax and/or benefit systems using open source components that are exportable to other states; and implement technology-based tools designed to prevent, detect or collect/recover improper UI payments.
For more information about applying for funding, read the Unemployment Insurance Program Letter 24-13 available at http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=6992.