Kansas passed on earlier plan to upgrade unemployment system

The state's unemployment system was crippled with a flood of fraudulent claims and skyrocketing demand at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The problems came after the state decided against upgrading the system in 2015, which had been urged by a software company.

By

State News

September 21, 2021 - 9:40 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A software company urged Kansas to uprade its computer system for handling claims for unemployment benefits but the state didn’t heed that advice five years before a flood of fraudulent claims across the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Oracle proposed in 2015 that the Kansas Department of Labor do the upgrade to prevent fraud. The department had put a yearslong modernization project on hold in 2011 under then-Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly has blamed the department’s aged system, with technology dating back to the 1970s, for problems in processing unemployment benefits and preventing fraud as both legitimate and fraudulent claims surged last year. The state is preparing to launch another modernization project. 

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