Improve Productivity, Increase Program Integrity and Reduce Overpayments

Workforce agencies face the highest unemployment rate in recent U.S. history and the lowest level of trust fund solvency nationwide during the current pandemic crisis.   Some states have reported issues with unemployment fraud, with some even halting unemployment payments temporarily.  As a result, unemployed workers have seen a delay in their claim processes and benefit payments.  Workforce agencies are struggling to provide benefits and payments promptly in order to meet program standards and beneficiaries’ expectations while also reducing improper payments.

To increase program integrity and identify misdirected payments which create delays in payments for workers in need, Equifax’s UI Eligibility Services suite provides data-based solutions and authentication tools that can be implemented quickly and without requiring significant upgrades to existing state agency technology. 

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Flagging potential imposters using tools and datasets can help stop fraudulent activities before they even start. Using insights from multidimensional data sources, Digital Identity Trust can execute several verifications of a claimant’s identity and validate that the information on the application for benefits is legitimate. For example, during account creation, multi-channel authentication takes place in milliseconds including device, mobile and email verification and risk analysis.  Further, Account Verification can verify that a direct deposit account number provided by a claimant actually belongs to the person applying for benefits.  Account Verification can also flag applications when individuals apply for unemployment in one state and have a direct deposit bank account in another state.

Claims under the PUA program for self-employed individuals or those who are otherwise ineligible for state unemployment benefits are particularly vulnerable to overpayments, as they are difficult to validate without tax return data which can be outdated.  Further, alternate sources of data such as State Wage Data or the National Directory of New Hires do not include independent contractors.  As a result, this group of UI applicants poses a potential blind spot for state agencies.  Access to verifications of income and employment for self-employed and independent contractors through automated platforms like The Work Number Social Service Income and Employment Verification database can help support the claims filed by these individuals. That can help protect the integrity of this new program, so the funds available can serve more individuals.

In order to continue receiving unemployment payments, applicants must submit evidence that they are still eligible.  Both the applicant and the state must re-certify eligibility for benefits, which represents an opportunity to reduce friction for the applicant while taking a second look for potential overpayments through self-attested information. State Wage Data and the National Directory of New Hires run months behind actual payroll data, making accurate re-certifications difficult. The UI Eligibility suite of solutions delivers timely verified income and employment data on demand through The Work Number Social Service Income and Employment Verification and The Work Number Alert: Portfolio Monitoring as recent as the last employer payroll cycle.  This can help state workforce agencies to evaluate continued eligibility and quickly identify potential overpayments.