Web put to work on jobless claims
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jan 17, 2002
The Texas Workforce Commission is testing an unemployment insurance Web
application that could cut the time needed to verify the claim of an unemployed
Previously when a person filed for unemployment compensation, the agency
mailed an initial notice of claim to the person's last employer, who then
had 10 days to respond by mail to the claim verifying the unemployed person
was released for a particular reason.
With the new application, the commission mails out claims to employers,
who can then respond by filling out the information via the agency's Web
site, significantly speeding up the time it takes for an unemployed person
to receive benefits, said Chris Politte, a partner with Accenture, which
co-developed the application with the MMC Group, an Irving, Texas-based
information technology firm.
Eventually the system could be made entirely electronic, he said.
The application is significant for another reason. It is the first contract
to be awarded under a Texas mentor/protege program pairing large vendor
companies with minority- or women-owned businesses, often referred to as
historically underutilized businesses (HUBs).
Politte said the year-old program, launched to help HUBs grow, has no
ground rules in its selection process. So when the contract was up for bid,
Accenture invited several HUBs to develop proposals, and MMC was selected
based on its proposal, he said. Under the program, the HUB is required to
contribute to 30 percent of a contract.
The Texas Workforce Commission (www.texasworkforce.org)
actually contracted with Accenture one and a half years ago to develop an
e-government plan and move its services to the Internet, Politte said. From
that partnership, a new, better-organized Web site was designed and projects
were prioritized. The unemployment insurance service is one of the first
applications being developed from that plan, he added.
Nationwide, Politte said that unemployment insurance services via the
Web are just beginning to emerge.
"Most states are just now moving in a similar direction," he said, adding
that he has talked with seven states in the past two months. "With Sept.
11, the unemployment insurance claims filing has just exploded. Most states
are seeing 1.5 to 2 times the claim-filing load from this year over last
year. Texas is one of the first states beginning to place Web transactions
out there for processing."