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NJ Selected for UI Overhaul

Updated: Aug 6, 2022

On December 14, 2021, the State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOLWD) announced it had been chosen by its federal partners at U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) as a pilot state for the Claimant Experience Pilot, a program to modernize and improve the application of the federal unemployment insurance system.

The goal of the Pilot is to design an application system that provides equitable and timely access to unemployment benefits for eligible workers, while rooting out identity theft and other fraud issues that have bogged down state unemployment systems throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pilot is currently being instituted within the NJDOWLD.

"No state was spared from the deluge of unemployment claims nor from the difficulties of implementing numerous new federal unemployment benefit programs created to assist workers during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. "Today, with resources from our federal partners at U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Digital Service, New Jersey is proud to join our counterparts in Arkansas to modernize and streamline the cumbersome unemployment system, and pilot a model modular system for the entire country."

While states mobilized quickly to implement crucial new federal pandemic unemployment programs, agencies across the nation were hamstrung by inflexible technology that was not built to handle the crush of claims we received nor the dozens of changes to the federal programs made during the pandemic.

Though these difficulties were often mistakenly attributed to computer system glitches, the issues most often occurred because of the web of complex federal laws and processes that require us to verify workers’ information, receive and review wage records – often from multiple parties and multiple states – verify identities, and make sure only those eligible for benefits receive them.

The Claimant Experience Pilot is focused on creating a user-friendly entry to the system with an integrated identity verification component, which is now required, but is a completely separate step.

NJ SEED: NJ SEED is happy to report that NJ has been selected for a modern program that will improve the application of the UI system. This was a discussion at the NJ SEED June 1 Trustee and Membership Meeting, particularly as it relates to the security of the system and the cost impacts of fraud on its user, NJ’s employers, and employees.

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