New online verification tool helping Ga. Department of Labor process unemployment claims

Georgia Department of Labor office in Augusta.
Georgia Department of Labor office in Augusta.(WRDW)
Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 2:17 PM CDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) implemented a new tool to help with identity verification.

ID.Me is an online platform that helps the office in its process of detecting and avoiding fraudulent unemployment claims, which continue to be a problem.

GDOL released unemployment benefits for more than 20,000 Georgians since debuting the tool. A spokeswoman says the department is hopeful that now those eligible and still waiting for payments will receive those faster.

Unemployed Georgians will be sent to ID.Me to verify their identity for different reasons, but GDOL says 70 percent were due to employers making a mistake on their employee’s claim.

“Sometimes they would put information that didn’t match social security, so the birthdate may have been incorrect, may have swapped a couple of the social security numbers; and that just caused an identity stop on our side because things weren’t matching up like they should,” GDOL Communications Director Kersha Cartwright said.

Verifying a claimant’s identity manually is now a thing of the past for the Department of Labor, which means they can process claims and release payments faster than before.

“Kind of sending that part over to another partner and letting them verify that identity and then sending it back to us. That is working really, really well.”

Cartwright says the department has caught fraudsters with the new tool.

“When they can’t verify that identity, they can’t move forward in the process.”

Allowing them to verify a legitimate claimant.

“We’re able to stop those payments and make sure that we’re verifying the right person and getting the right person those payments.”

As for the fraudsters caught through the tool, the Department of Labor says it begins an investigation into the individuals, which can result in charges and even jail time.

To receive unemployment benefits, you must be eligible. The Department of Labor says its seen people apply for unemployment that don’t meet the requirements.

This is holding up payments for those who meet the requirements.

You must be unemployed due to no fault of your own. If you quit or were fired from your job, this makes you ineligible for unemployment benefits.

For those applying for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, you must be unemployed due to the pandemic. The spokeswoman says the department must go through each claim manually to verify eligibility.

“Some of those are going to be eligible, but some of them are not. So yes, I believe that folks not understanding how unemployment works sometimes, that is causing a delay in some of these payments for people who are eligible,” Cartwright said.

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