WE CAN buy groceries online; get all our news online; and pay our bills online. As part of our world going digital, government departments across the country are examining how they deliver services. Participating in this trend, the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance has modernized its system, which was built almost 30 years ago on a predominantly manual process.
Several recent Globe articles have questioned the effectiveness of the new online unemployment system implemented by the department and supported by my company, Deloitte.
What has been underreported is the factual operation of the new platform and software. For the first time ever in Massachusetts, the unemployed can apply online, as they already can in almost every state. More than 100,000 claims are being successfully processed weekly. According to the Commonwealth, 99.98 percent of claimants successfully interface with the new system. The department can now resolve twice as many claim disputes as before, and the Commonwealth’s ability to prevent, detect, and rectify fraud has been strengthened.
Initial data conversion resulted in unfortunate delays for a small number of deserving applicants; in cooperation with the Commonwealth, we acted immediately and addressed those matters. Other cases were a result of processing time to resolve normal unemployment issues, such as disputes between the claimant and the employer over eligibility, which would occur regardless of an old or new system.
With government going digital, we are seeing increased efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability in the public sector.