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New, modern computer system coming to UIA with Deloitte contract signing
April 28, 2023
- UFACTS will replace MiWAM/MiDAS system for workers, employers
- It will be easy to navigate, provide user-friendly experience
- 21st-century technology will speed claims processing, aid in fighting fraud
A totally new user experience is on the way for workers and employers as the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) signed a contract today with Deloitte to design and install a computer system that meets UIA’s future needs and replaces its current decade-old technology. The Deloitte program will be easy to use, speed claims processing, and build on the agency’s current aggressive anti-fraud practices.
The modern system, called UFACTS (for Unemployment Framework for Automated Claim & Tax Services), is expected to be fully operational in two years and cost an estimated $78 million over the life of a 10-year contract. It prioritizes ease of access for users and provides UIA with significant programming flexibility for system updates in response to quickly changing economic conditions and unemployment rates.
“This is an exciting time at UIA with new equity initiatives and modernization efforts throughout the agency, but particularly with the official kickoff to install our new computer system,” UIA Director Julia Dale said. “It will be a significant improvement for Michigan workers and employers – as well as our staff – compared to the software we have been using for years.”
UFACTS will replace the current Michigan Integrated Data Automated System (MiDAS) and Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM), first launched in 2013.
How UFACTS will be different
The Deloitte UFACTS system will connect seamlessly to other information databases to accurately identify fraudulent claims, allow broader system control by UIA, and provide reports and dashboards that will benefit those filing for jobless benefits as well as agency staff.
UIA’s initiative to bring a human-centered design and plain language to its correspondence and website will also drive decisions about the user experience for workers and employers when they access UFACTS.
“We are hopeful that this new computer system will help right the wrongs of the past while providing the ease of access and flexibility that workers deserve,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “When workers lose a job through no fault of their own, they shouldn’t face new hurdles to getting needed benefits. It’s important that we use plain language and common sense design to make this process as smooth as possible for working people when they need it most.”
UIA announced in November it had chosen Deloitte to install a modern and innovative system. The company has more than 20 years of experience in the unemployment field and it supports the unemployment insurance systems in 15 states, including California, Florida and Massachusetts.
Since the selection in November, UIA subject matter experts have been mapping key processes, identifying pain points, evaluating IT readiness, and suggesting improvements that will benefit Michigan workers who file jobless claims and businesses that pay taxes to support the state’s unemployment insurance program.
New system key to changes at agency
Throughout the implementation process, Director Dale will seek input from stakeholders including the members of the UIA Modernization Workgroup, which includes representatives from labor, business and jobless advocacy organizations. Workgroup members have unique perspectives in how to identify and eliminate barriers that claimants across every demographic face when accessing unemployment insurance benefits as well as how best to provide quality customer services and resources to employers regardless of size or industry.
“Replacing the agency’s decade-old computer system is critical to rebuilding the Unemployment Insurance Agency,” said Director Dale. “It is important that we get this right and take our time designing a system whose hallmark will be ease of use for anyone who relies on the unemployment insurance system. It will support our reforms and help to create an agency that is a national model for fast, fair and fraud-free service.”
A new computer system is integral to providing benefits to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Unemployment insurance is a lifeline that ensures workers can cover rent or mortgage payments, buy food and clothing, access transportation to look for work, and pay household bills. Lowering barriers with a user-focused computer system will ensure timely and equitable delivery of benefits while workers seek reemployment.
UIA Director leads agency reform efforts
Updating technology and the UIA Modernization Workgroup are two of the many UIA reforms launched under Director Dale, who is the 11th agency director in as many years. Since she was appointed in October 2021, she has:
- Secured a more than $2.3 million equitable access and communications grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Tiger Teams program to redesign and simplify how UIA engages with employers and develop a step-by-step roadmap for accessing agency services.
- Collaborated with the Attorney General’s office as well as local, state and federal law enforcement to bring bad actors to justice and combat fraud at the agency. To date, 115 individuals have been charged in connection with unemployment benefits fraud.
- Rebuilt to nearly $1.7 billion (and growing) the UI Trust Fund from which weekly benefits are paid to workers.
- Approved over 76,000 overpayment waivers of state and federal benefits paid during the global pandemic, valued at more than $555 million. More waivers are pending.
- Halted overpayment collections on claims filed since March 1, 2020, while the agency addresses pending protests and appeals and refunded more than $12.5 million to more than 9,900 workers since May 2022.
- Identified initiatives and processes that would ease access to jobless benefits for workers in underserved communities under a $6.8 million USDOL equity grant.
- Reassigned staff and resources to address the largest categories of claims that are contributing to the agency’s case backlogs.
- Redesigned the agency’s public website at Michigan.gov/UIA for easier use on mobile phones and tablets.
- Implemented new ethics and security clearance policies for employees and contractors.
Support for UIA’s reform efforts
- Nia Winston, UNITE HERE, in The Detroit News: Unemployment agency workgroup aims to improve accountability
- Brian Calley, Small Business Association of Michigan, in Crain’s Detroit Business: Sustaining small business growth requires responsive, efficient government
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