The Department of Labor (DoL) established a new office specifically focused on modernizing state unemployment insurance (UI) systems. The Office of Unemployment Insurance Modernization will be tasked with helping support the DoL UI modernization plan and oversee the $2 billion appropriated to the department in the American Rescue Plan, DoL announced on August 31.
State UI systems became increasingly important and overwhelmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the influx of funding in March’s American Rescue Plan. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh has tapped Yvette Meftah to lead the office.
“The pandemic underscored the need for modernization of the 53 different systems that administer unemployment insurance benefits in the United States, and it exposed significant vulnerabilities in state technology to criminals looking for an opportunity,” Walsh said when announcing the DoL modernization plan.
The office will work with the Employment and Training Administration, Office of the CIO, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management; and will be located within the DoL Office of the Secretary.
Within the office’s oversight purview will be how DoL administers $240 million in funding to help modernize state UI systems and how the agency utilizes the rest of the $2 billion from the American Rescue Plan. The Office will also be integral in further efforts to modernize state UI infrastructure going forward.