Wisconsin unemployment office turns to Google for backlog assistance

(The Center Square) – Wisconsin is turning it’s months-old unemployment backlog over to Google.

The state’s Department of Workforce Development on Monday announced a new partnership with Google Cloud.

The plan, according to DWD Transition Director Amy Pechacek, is to allow Google’s computers to review more than a half-million old unemployment claims and see which ones should be paid.

“I look forward to this exciting collaboration with Google Cloud to further improve our UI processes to better serve Wisconsinites who are out of work through no fault of their own,” Pechacek said in a statement. “Our top priority is ensuring that all eligible unemployment claims in Wisconsin are paid as quickly as possible.”

Nearly 81,000 people are still waiting for DWD to process their claims. The total number of their backlogged claims is just over 590,000.

Pechacek says DWD has processed and paid-out 92% of unemployment claims since coronavirus joblessness peaked back in April.

“While the Department has completed an unprecedented number of claims over the past six months, we recognize that the 8% of claims still in process represents individuals who are depending on us,” Pechacek said.

There are two phases of the partnership with Google. DWD said the first phase is to separate fraudulent claims from those that need to be paid.

Google Cloud “will deliver a rules-based analytics engine that will assist DWD in identifying unemployment claims that have the risk of improper payment,” the agency says.

Phase Two, which is set to launch in mid-November, will help DWD contact people who’ve filed claims and employers electronically. The hope is such efforts will reduce the need for scheduled phone calls. This service will also allow documents to be submitted online instead of by fax, and should streamline data extraction to speed-up the process.

There is no word on just how much Wisconsin is spending on the Google Cloud service.

By Benjamin Yount | The Center Square
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Reposted with permission

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