Nov 05 2020

Wisconsin Hopes Cloud Will Speed Processing of Unemployment Claims

The state has teamed with Google to get unemployment benefits to claimants faster.

Like other state governments that have been hit by a deluge of unemployment claims this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, Wisconsin is turning to the cloud to help it process claims more efficiently.

Late in October, the state announced a partnership with Google Cloud to speed up the processing of unemployment claims. According to an announcement from the state’s Department of Workforce Development, the state will take advantage of predictive analytics tools using on historical data to “shorten adjudication decision-making, which will allow DWD to release payments to eligible claimants faster.”

The solution also uses descriptive data analytics via segmentation, categorization and clustering based on claim attributes, according to the DWD.

An Oct. 21 report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted that more than 78,000 Wisconsin residents were still waiting for their unemployment claims to be processed. As of Oct. 16, DWD said it had processed 7.4 million weekly unemployment insurance claims since March 15 and had paid more than 536,000 claimants over $3.9 billion in unemployment insurance benefits.

“While the Department has completed an unprecedented number of claims over the past six months, we recognize that the 8 percent of claims still in process represents individuals who are depending on us,” DWD Transition Director Amy Pechacek stated. “This new partnership helps us ensure a more efficient resolution of their claims so that they may care for themselves and their families.”

Wisconsin Teams with Google to Detect Fraud in Claims

Under the arrangement with Wisconsin, Google will also deliver “a rules-based analytics engine that will assist DWD in identifying unemployment claims that have the risk of improper payment,” the release states.

The goal of the tool is to identify potentially fraudulent claims based on key indicators, allowing DWD to better sort through eligible unemployment claims.

Starting in mid-November, Google Cloud’s automated technology will help the DWD contact claimants and employers electronically, cutting down the need for scheduled phone calls. Claimants will also be able to submit documents online instead of by fax. DWD says the new process “will streamline data extraction and integration from submitted documentation to provide further efficiencies in the claim processing workflow.”

Google worked with several states earlier this year to smooth out the processing of unemployment claims. This past spring, the state of New York teamed with Google to create an application portal to help the state manage unemployment claims.

The New York system went live on April 10; in an April 20 press release, the New York State Department of Labor noted that its application call backlog prior to April 8 had been reduced from 275,000 down to 4,305.

WATCH: Will states’ shift to digital service be long-lasting?

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