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State Launching ID Verification Process For Some UI Claims

The Massachusetts online unemployment application is pictured. (Callum Borchers/WBUR)
The Massachusetts online unemployment application is pictured. (Callum Borchers/WBUR)

Facing what it calls a "continued surge of fraudulent claim attempts," the state Department of Unemployment Assistance announced a new identity verification process Thursday aimed at speeding up payments to claimants.

The Baker administration contracted with ID.me, a federally certified security vendor specializing in digital identity protection, to implement a mobile-friendly ID process for the state's unemployment benefits program.

DUA plans to implement ID.me for existing claimants waiting for verification starting March 5 and then for new claimants "in the coming weeks," the department said. Those who clear the process should receive payments within "several days."

"This new mobile-friendly method of identity verification will help protect the integrity of the system and allow DUA to make payments more quickly to legitimate claimants," the department said.

Only those seeking traditional unemployment insurance benefits will be affected, and the process for the expanded eligibility Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will not change.

The department also plans to add a multi-factor authentication system to its online unemployment insurance system to improve security.

The massive surge in unemployment during the pandemic brought with it a wave of fraudulent claims.

Many laid-off workers have also faced hurdles accessing support to which they are entitled amid the fraud, as The Boston Globe reported Monday. On several occasions, the Baker administration has warned that the schemes create delays for those appropriately seeking benefits.

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