Recently CCC sent several of our leadership team to the 37th Annual National UI Issues Conference, presented by UWC. As the only national association specifically representing the interests of the business community on unemployment insurance (UI) issues, the UWC “serves a foundational role in protecting and enhancing the UI program. This conference has become a critical annual event in the ongoing evolution of the UI system, by promoting productive dialogue between the stakeholders and highlighting administrative best practices, integrity, reemployment and long term solvency of the program.”

The conference is an excellent opportunity to study, in-depth, the issues facing both state unemployment agencies and employers. The hot topics for discussion were:

In the past, a most of the discussion was focused on the UI Integrity legislation’s implementation. With UI Integrity now really in it’s 5th year, the discussion reviewed how this legislation has affected the state unemployment systems’ ability to stop improper payments. The national improper payment rate is roughly the same as it was when the UI Integrity legislation was passed at 12%. This is still considered well above the 10.6% the federal government has assigned as the goal for UI Improper payments. Can we consider the legislation a success? That is the question that everyone at the conference ponders. States are requiring much more of employers and their agents with really limited results. What has is obvious is that communication has improved, the numbers simply aren’t reflecting that.

The State Information Data Exchange (SIDES) as well as other automated systems were also highly discussed. For both employers and their representatives, SIDES has been amazing in assisting them in getting claims for benefits more quickly to the employers/agents, giving them the ability to respond with a more complete and timely information. As SIDES rolls out their other modules, including hearings, monetary decisions and benefit charges, the effectiveness of the information will continue to increase. Automation of the system has also led to a dramatic reduction in fraud claims for states that have implemented this system, by creating a system to verify/audit suspicious claims. This has been much more effective with states that implemented SIDES, rather than other independent systems. For employers, this results in not having to wait for credits on claims that should have never been paid in the first place and therefore not impacting their tax rates. CCC is excited to begin implementing the new modules when they are available to increase our effectiveness communicating with state unemployment agencies.

The most important topic of 2018 was the status of the individual state unemployment agencies’ trust funds and preparation for the next recession. The federal government is very concerned about states having the ability to pay benefits to individuals in the next recession without borrowing from the federal government. It is an unfortunate statistic that most states are not ready for the next recession. The Virgin Islands are, in fact, still paying back their loan from the Great Recession. The federal government has set goals for each state to help them get to the appropriate reserves for the next recession. Unfortunately with low unemployment, resulting in lower tax rate schedules the state trust funds are not rising as rapidly as necessary to manage a recession of the magnitude we witnessed with the Great Recession.

CCC’s goal at this conference is to stay informed on UI Issues and to advocate for our clients. With unemployment “quiet” for the time being this is a great opportunity for us to meet and form relationships that will be of use when, inevitabley unemployment rates begin to rise. By attending the sessions, networking with stakeholders and providing important feedback, our mission was a success in 2018.


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