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KDOL begins work to modernize unemployment system

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Posted at 11:12 AM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-05 12:12:42-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas Department of Labor announced Tuesday that Tata Consultancy Services has been selected to help update its IT-legacy system used to process unemployment insurance claims.

According to a release from KDOL, the updates "will improve the experiences of unemployed Kansans and businesses who interact with the unemployment insurance system."

KDOL told KSHB 41 News they were taking steps to modernize the almost 50-year-old system last April and said their time frame for the new system was Fall 2023.

RELATED | An antiquated system, increase in claims, fraud: How KDOL handled the unemployment crisis

In July 2021, KDOL said that unemployment benefit payments would be delayed due to "technical difficulties," and the benefits website was down.

“I promised that we would not kick the unemployment modernization can down the road any longer,” Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said in the release. “This is another significant step we are taking to fix the antiquated system and keeps that promise to Kansas employees and businesses. The state was close to modernizing our unemployment system before the previous Administration stopped the process in 2011. The selection of this vendor allows us to begin the work of modernization quickly so that we can ultimately better serve Kansans.”

The first modernization process began in 2005, but it was stopped in 2011.

"The decision to end the modernization process in 2011 directly led to the system failures that occurred during the height of the pandemic, when the state’s unemployment system all but collapsed under the weight of record unemployment rates and the implementation of over a half-dozen new federally created pandemic unemployment systems," the release said.

Tata Consultancy Services was selected through an open-bid process that started in 2021. TCS is an IT services and consulting organization that has already partnered with several others to modernize their unemployment insurance systems, such as Connecticut, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New York and Wyoming.

"Today’s announcement launches a multi-year initiative focused on transforming the agency’s business processes and core technology systems," the release said. "It will reshape the way KDOL will do business for Kansas employees and employers by considering business needs and technology solutions from an agency-wide perspective."

A KDOL team will work with TCS, as well as representatives from other agencies, to create a "smooth transition with the new unemployment insurance system."

“We have made a significant amount of progress in a short amount of time and today’s announcement is just the latest example of this work,” KDOL Secretary Amber Shultz said in the release. “We are committed to ensuring that our state is poised to address the challenges of today, but also the needs of tomorrow. Never again will Kansans be left behind during their time of need.”