Chairman Reichert, Ranking Member Doggett, and Members of the Subcommittee:
Thank you for inviting me to today's hearing to discuss information technology (IT) systems supporting the unemployment insurance (UI) program. As you know, this is the
To collect and process the tax revenue that funds the program and to determine eligibility and administer benefits, state agencies rely heavily on IT systems. However, a state survey published in 2010 found many of these systems to be old and based on outdated programming languages, costly and difficult to support, and incapable of efficiently handling workload demands. n1 Given the importance of IT to state agencies' abilities to effectively process and provide timely benefits to millions of unemployed Americans, in
All of the work on which this statement is based was conducted in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform our audits to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.
The federal-state UI program, created in part by the Social Security Act of 1935, is administered under state law based on federal requirements. n3 The primary objectives of the program are to provide temporary, partial compensation for lost earnings of eligible individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own and to stabilize the economy during downturns. Applicants for UI benefits must have earned at least a certain amount in wages and/or have worked a certain number of weeks to be eligible. In addition, these individuals must, with limited exceptions, be available for and able to work, and actively search for work.
The federal-state structure of the program places primary responsibility for its administration on the states, and gives them wide latitude to administer the programs in a manner that best suits their needs within the guidelines established by federal law. Within the context of the federal-state partnership, Labor has general responsibility for overseeing the UI program to ensure that the program is operating effectively and efficiently. For example, Labor is responsible for monitoring state operations and procedures, providing technical assistance and training, and analyzing UI program data to diagnose potential problems.
States' Use of IT to Administer UI Programs
State agencies rely extensively on IT systems to carry out their UI program functions. These include systems for administering benefits and for collecting and administering the taxes used to fund the programs.
Benefit systems are used for
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