Unemployment benefits disrupted by technology glitch in 22 states
Unemployment has been a lifeline during the pandemic, but some people are being denied benefits for a ridiculous reason.
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, and many have exhausted their savings accounts just trying to stay afloat. The result? Those who remain unemployed have been heavily dependent unemployment benefits to pay their bills. But a technical problem means that some people are denied the unemployment income they need.
When technical problems cause financial problems
The pandemic has been raging for over a year now, and as the unemployment rate has, thankfully, declined steadily since the summit last April, there are still millions of Americans who remain out of work. And these people rely on their unemployment benefits to cover their basic expenses.
But because unemployment fraud is such a big deal, many states have their own verification systems to make sure benefits are being paid to the right people. That’s a good idea in theory – except when the going gets tough.
This may be the case in about 22 states. Each state runs its own unemployment system, and many have partnered with a program called ID.me, which helps states verify applicants are who they say they are. The problem? Like all software, ID.me has the potential to glitch, and that is precisely what is happening in many corners of the country.
The result is that some people who are entitled to unemployment benefits do not receive their money. Instead, they are forced to postpone bills and accumulate costly debts.
The problem is compounded by the fact that most state labor departments or unemployment benefit administrators are not equipped to help claimants with ID.me technical issues. Not only do states not have access to ID.me’s backend system, many state employees are not trained to help people troubleshoot issues. As such, many people in need of unemployment have found themselves stuck in a vicious loop of being denied their money – and having no one to turn to for help.
Now, to be fair, ID.me has been proven to be effective in preventing fraud. In fact, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) claims that more than $ 91 million in unemployment has been returned to legitimate beneficiaries as a result of the ID.me verification system.
In addition, the CDLE indicates that out of 1,134,126 unemployed claimants who have been asked to use ID.me since January, only 137,027 identities have been verified. This leads the department to believe that most of these applicants were criminals who sought to steal money to which they were never entitled. But that doesn’t negate the fact that technical issues have excluded legitimate claimants from the system – people who can become more and more desperate by the day.
Those having trouble with ID.me can consult List of tips from ID.me to help solve their problems. But if that fails, the next step is to contact ID.me directly to see if the company can step in and provide assistance so that their much-needed benefits can finally be unleashed.
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