Files transfer.There has been much written about the multitude of issues Florida has experienced with their unemployment system, CONNECT, developed by Deloitte Consulting. The $39.8 million project ran nearly two years over the projected implementation date. Unfortunately, once it was implemented in October of 2013, the system was so plagued with technical glitches that the federal government felt the need to intervene and Florida hired Ernst and Young to oversee testing results at an additional $155,000.

Further, more than two months after implementation so many claims remained unpaid that the Florida DEO hired an additional 330 employees at the cost of nearly $165,000 per week to help push claims through. Most reports have dealt with the effect of the system disaster on the claimant. Not many have noted the problems that employers and their TPAs have and continue to experience.

Employers and Third Party Administrators (TPAs) had difficulty accessing the system from the beginning and the wait time for assistance in getting access was at times so long that the phone system simply hung up on many attempting to contact the state. Once employers were able to access the system, it was only to discover that most claims and determinations in the system were already past due. Further lack of support in obtaining this information caused many employers to be unable to timely process any communication to the state agency.

To keep things moving, the DEO kept sending claims via mail. Unfortunately, many of the claims received were duplicate claims, lacked any claimant information, no information on where to send a response or were received already past due. Again, the result was the inability for employers to assist the agency by providing the information needed to timely process both initial claims and determinations.

While Florida has taken steps to work the “glitches” out of the system, employers continue to receive claims with due dates prior to the date of mail and “blank” determinations. While frustration continues to plague the employer community, the results of the new system are best exemplified by the determination that Florida claimants are still not receiving benefits in compliance with Federal standards. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “the federal benchmark for timeliness is to pay initial jobless claims within two to three weeks. Here’s how Florida has fared.

78%: Received timely claims before the launch of connect.

48%: Year since CONNECT’s launch.

27%: The last three months.”

Fortunately, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Two other states implemented the Deloitte system with similar results, Massachusetts and New Mexico. Massachusetts also chose to implement the federal SIDES program along with an employer task force to discuss system issues.

 [Unemployment Insurance (UI) SIDES is a web-based system that allows electronic transmission of claim information requests from state unemployment agencies to employers and/or TPAs, as well as transmission of replies containing the requested information back to these agencies. This system was developed nationally, and its standardized format has been the most easily to utilize.]

By also implementing SIDES and developing an employer taskforce to improve the Deloitte system, Massachusetts has effectively eliminated the issues both employers/TPAs and claimants experienced within their unemployment system.

Florida is currently in production and testing with SIDES. CCC will begin testing with Florida in April, and we believe that this will eliminate many of the issues that have occurred with the Deloitte system operating alone. We look forward to reporting back on the success of the SIDES system in operation with CONNECT moving forward.

Do you have questions regarding this or any other unemployment issue? Contact CCC at (800)207-6926 or contact@corporatecostcontrol.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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