* determining eligibility for benefits;
* recording claimant filing information, such as demographic information, work history, and qualifying wage credits;
* determining updates as needed, such as changes in work-seeking status; and
* calculating state-specific weekly and maximum benefit amounts.
Tax systems are used for
* online reporting and payment of employers' tax and wage reports; * calculating tax, wage, and payment adjustments, and any penalties or interest accrued;
* processing quarterly tax and wage amounts;
* determining and processing late payment penalties, interest, civil penalties, or fees; and
* adjusting previously filed tax and wage reports as a result of a tax audit, an amended report submitted by the employer, or an erroneously keyed report.
However, the majority of the states' existing systems for UI operations were developed in the 1970s and 1980s. Although some agencies have performed upgrades throughout the years, most of the state legacy systems have aged considerably. As they have aged, the systems have presented challenges to the efficiency of states' existing IT environments. In a survey published by the
* Over 90 percent of the systems run on outdated hardware and software programming languages, such as Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL), which is one of the oldest computer programming languages.
* The systems are costly and difficult to support. The survey found, for example, that over two-thirds of states face growing costs for mainframe hardware and software support of their legacy systems.
* Most states' systems cannot efficiently handle current workload demands, including experiencing difficulties implementing new federal or state laws due to constraints imposed by the systems.
* States have realized an increasing need to transition to web-based online access for UI data and services.
States also cited specific issues with their legacy systems, including the fact that they cannot be reprogrammed quickly enough to respond to changes resulting from legislative mandates. In addition, states have developed one or more stand-alone ancillary systems to fulfill specific needs, but these systems are not integrated with their legacy mainframe systems, decreasing efficiency. Finally, according to the states, existing legacy systems cannot keep up with advances in technology, such as the move to place more UI services online. Labor's Role in Facilitating IT Modernization
In addition to providing general oversight of the UI program, the
Through supplemental budget funds, Labor has supported the establishment of state consortiums, in which three or four states work together to develop and share a common system. These efforts are intended to allow multiple states to pool their resources and reduce risk in the pursuit of a single common system that they can each use after applying state-specific programming and configuration settings.
Labor also helps to provide technical assistance to the states by supporting and participating in two key groups--NASWA and the Information Technology Support Center (ITSC). NASWA provides a forum for states to exchange information and ideas about how to improve program operations; serves as a liaison between state workforce agencies and federal government agencies,
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