Unemployment Insurance Claims System Gets a Much-Needed Upgrade

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services' Unemployment Insurance Claims System is nearly ready to go live.

The upgrade is a modernization of the previous system, which was housed on a mainframe computer, and the programming was written in the 1980s. The legacy system required a COBOL programmer to run, and all the department's qualified technicians are approaching retirement.

"The new system is a vast improvement over the legacy system," said Tobi Cates, administrator of office workforce programs for DWS. "Not only has our vendor built a solution that other states can use, it's a one-stop portal that employers and claimants will be able to use with ease."

The new system is hosted on the Microsoft Azure Cloud, which makes it more scalable than the previous system. As the data housed in the system continues to grow, the system itself can be expanded. It also can be replicated to allow other states to adopt a similar solution. With an improved user interface, it will allow self-service features for unemployment claimants.

Through the new system, claimants can physically be anywhere they have internet connectivity to file a claim, file continued claims for weekly payments, track benefit payments, change individual information, respond to requests for information, file appeals, reprint their 1099G forms, and generate UI Benefit Verification letters. The system also allows UI staff to assist claimants with views of their entries, improve response times, reduce manual operations and reduce the risk of entering erroneous information.

As the department switches from the legacy system to the new one, the Unemployment Insurance Claims System will be unavailable from Thursday, June 21, through Tuesday, June 26. No claims will be able to be processed during that time. When the new system is up and running on June 27, though, Cates said it will be a vast improvement over the previous system.

"Claimants will be able to file claims completely online," she said. "Our staff has completed several tests with the new system, and it has passed each time."

The new system will allow those filing unemployment claims more functionality than the legacy system offered. In addition to being able to file claims online, claimants will be able to view unemployment insurance documentation and correspondence; respond to requests from unemployment insurance; update contact information; update preferred payment methods; file for payment; reset their personal identification number; and pay on overpayments.

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