Pa. rolls out compensation system

Pennsylvania is rolling out an unemployment compensation system that officials say will standardize how applications for benefits are determined by state law.

The Expert Assistance System for Examiners (EASE), built by Electronic Data Systems Corp., walks examiners through the questions required by law and then provides a determination on whether an applicant deserves compensation.

The system also prints standard letters informing the applicant of the determination and the law on which the decision was based. The system then archives all filings and determinations.

"It expedites the eligibility determination process and standardizes statewide how unemployment law is applied," said Barry Ciccocioppo, press secretary for the state's Department of Labor and Industry.

The system, which will handle about 1 million applications per year, replaces a roughly 15-year-old DOS-based system that did not have a graphical user interface. Examiners using the old system also used law books to make determinations, which led to varied determinations. EASE includes applicable law in the system.

EASE was built to run on the state intranet and Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer.

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