Twenty-two states plus Puerto Rico will receive more than $6 million in federal funds to improve security in their unemployment insurance programs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This is the fourth consecutive year that such awards have been made.
The Department of Labor today announced that $6,008,840 will go to 22 states to improve their information system technology. The money will fund programs that
Make it easier to apply for unemployment
Reduce fraudulent unemployment claims
Keep client’s personal information more secure
“Data security improvements implemented with the help of these funds will strengthen the integrity of our state unemployment insurance systems,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco. “It is more than reasonable that tax-paying workers and employers expect states to continuously improve the performance of their UI systems.”
The awards will promote the use of National Institute of Standards and Technology guidelines to identify and eliminate weaknesses in Unemployment Insurance (UI) systems. These upgrades will make it possible for the states to be security certified and receive accreditation of their security precautions.
This year’s awards go to Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming, and Puerto Rico.
The average award is $261,253.91. However, individual awards vary from $25,000 in Wyoming to $583,637 — more than half a million dollars — in Colorado.
States with the highest awards include California with $494,500, Georgia with $571,726, Iowa with $439,940, and New Hampshire with $474,659. Puerto Rico received $355,500.
States with the lowest awards include Alabama with $99,508, Illinois and Kentucky each with $100,000, Indiana with $122,129, North Dakota with $48,845 and South Carolina with $94,955. A complete listing of states and awards is available from the U.S. Department of Labor website.
Part of the funds are earmarked to correct specific security concerns in several states that were identified through the Federal Information Security Management Act audits conducted by the Office of the Inspector General.
Some of the security enhancements include risk management, contingency planning and improving incident response capability. Others will enhance data center security and data integrity or provide security training and awareness.
In some states, the funds will be used to upgrade hardware and soft ware to increase system security and IT security documentation.
“Unemployment insurance plays a critical role in helping workers persevere through tough times,” said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. “This funding will boost states’ efforts to secure UI systems against fraud and ensure that those in need receive assistance.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, Unemployment Insurance benefits businesses, communities and the economy, as well as providing a welcome cushion for workers and their families. Unemployment Insurance was created in 1935 under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to ease the effects of the Great Depression, when millions of Americans were out of work. The plague of unemployment meant that people couldn’t buy good or services, which contributed to the economies downward spiral.
Unemployment Insurance is a federally mandated program administered by the states. Regulations and benefits vary slightly from state to state. The program is supported by taxes paid by employers.
State Unemployment Insurance programs provide unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own, as long as the workers meet certain other eligibility requirements set by state law.
In general, to collect unemployment benefits, one must file weekly or biweekly claims. Any earnings or offers of work should also be reported. In many states these claims are filed by mail or telephone. In some cases, workers can file unemployment claims online.
In order to be eligible for unemployment, a job-seeker must be able to work and actively looking for work. If requested, they must appear at the Unemployment Office on the date and time scheduled. Failure to report may result in benefits being denied.
Job-seekers who file for unemployment are usually required to register with the state employment service. Generally, workers who are 100% disabled do not qualify for unemployment insurance, although in some states they may qualify for short-term disability pay.
South Dakota is another state that expects each and every one of its employers to understand the unemployment insurance system—to know that the system is entirely financed by employers through payroll taxes, and that it is meant as a safety net to employees who lose their job through no wrongdoing or actions of their own. These payments are paid to the former employees as a right to them, not just out of need. So even if a former worker does not need unemployment insurance benefits, they receive them because it is their right under the South Dakota labor laws.
The South Dakota government also expects more than understanding on the part of its employers. It expects cooperation when it comes to the unemployment insurance system. Such cooperation makes sure that the system is efficient, does not waste money, and provides the benefits to the right unemployed workers and no benefits to those unemployed workers who are not entitled to them.
Part of this cooperation involves, as it did in South Carolina, that each of your South Dakota employers register with the unemployment insurance system when you become employers. All new and acquired or bought businesses must register with the South Dakota authorities at the Unemployment Insurance Tax Unit. So even if an existing business has had an account with the Unemployment Insurance Tax Unit, it is required to register again if the name, nature, or ownership of the business has changed.
Then the South Dakota Unemployment Insurance Tax Unit will determine your liability as an employer to pay the payroll taxes for unemployment insurance. In general, though, the decision is based on whether you have one or more workers employed at your company during 20 weeks in the year, or if you pay out more than $1500 in wages in a calendar quarter.
South Dakota’s unemployment insurance program is financed by employers through payroll taxes. It is exactly what the name implies—insurance—and when a person becomes unemployed, benefits are paid as a matter of right, without regard to need, to eligible claimants who meet the conditions fixed by law. Many of these conditions are stated on South Dakota Unemployment Insurance posters.
If you are liable under the state law, you will also pay federal unemployment taxes directly to the federal government. This federal tax helps finance the various Career Center and manpower training programs, such as placement, labor market information and training of workers to meet industry needs. Your federal tax also pays the administrative costs of the state unemployment insurance program and provides funds which may be loaned for unemployment benefit purposes to states whose unemployment insurance reserves are depleted.
To protect the investment you have in this program it is necessary for you to understand your rights and know your responsibilities under the South Dakota Unemployment Insurance Law, and to cooperate with the South Dakota Department of Labor in seeing that the program is administered efficiently and economically.
One such responsibility is to educate your employees about the program by posting South Dakota Unemployment Insurance posters in areas that are easily viewed by your employees. Another is report all new hires within 20 days of the date of hire. This includes any employee that is hired whether full-time, part-time, student or temporary worker to the NHRC.
To qualify for benefits each claimant must be either totally or partially unemployed, and able to work and available for work, and making a reasonable effort to find work on his/her own, as stated on South Dakota Unemployment Insurance posters.
If an employer or former employee is dissatisfied with a nonmonetary decision, each has 15 days from the date on the determination notice to appeal. If either party does not agree with the appeal decision, the next step would be an appeal to the Secretary of Labor, or directly to Circuit Court. However, the Secretary is not required to review all cases that are appealed to her/him. Parties who appeal to the Secretary will still have the option of then appealing to Circuit Court.
I am very impressed with the South Dakota Department of Labor Web site. When I was looking up the basic principles in the South Dakota Unemployment Insurance law, the Web site answered all of my questions and served as a great resource.
Basically, this is what I found out about the South Dakota Unemployment Insurance Law:
In South Dakota, employees are entitled to unemployment insurance when they lose their jobs. Unemployment insurance is paid by the employer for the employees. The insurance basically provides financial assistance for employees that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. For example, if an employee is laid off, or if a company closes, the employer will have paid unemployment insurance that will accommodate that employee until he or she finds alternative employment. Thus, workers do not have to contribute to the unemployment insurance plan in order to receive the benefits of it.
If an employee does collect unemployment insurance benefits, the employee has to prove that he or she is without employment through no fault of his or her own. Additionally, the employee must actively seek employment. He or she must file a report weekly, stating which jobs he or she applied to and the outcome of those applications. If the employee is offered a position that he or she then declines, then the employee must have a good reason.
If the employee finds part time work, then there are still some assistance benefits that can be provided by the unemployment insurance. The important thing to note is that unemployment insurance will not last forever and can only be used by individuals that are actively seeking employment. There is also a cap on the amount of money that can be received through unemployment insurance each week and, in most cases, this amount of money one can make is much greater when a person if fully employed.