The American Rescue Plan set aside $2 Billion to solve a major problem we faced during the pandemic – getting aid to millions of people in times of crisis. Unemployment claims jumped as a result of the pandemic. CNBC reported in September 2020 that the long-term unemployment rate in the U.S. rose to 2.4 million, a record high for the COVID pandemic.
The government expanded access to public benefits for millions of Americans in response to COVID-19—but that expanded access also scaled the challenges governments face to determine the identity and eligibility of applicants. State unemployment agencies are struggling to keep up with the demand. Applications and other processes related to unemployment verification need to be handled quickly and at a high volume.
The unemployment agency calculates the maximum allowed benefits for unemployed applicants by reviewing their earnings when employed by looking at tax statements. The gross income must be extracted from these documents, then quartered out to estimate the applicant’s eligibility and benefits bracket.
RPA is ideally suited for extracting information and performing complex calculations. Digital workers unburden the claims processor from this work. RPA can make financial calculations quickly and accurately without the need for human intervention.
To avoid fraud, unemployment agencies must complete an identity verification process for every applicant—the agency needs to go to a third-party system to verify identities.
For example, for driver’s license verification, a clerk needs to go to the third-party system to verify. This system can vet applicants to determine that they are residents of the state. However, the clerk must manually type in information before running a search.
With RPA, the digital worker (software bot) extracts data automatically and then goes to the third-party system. If the clerk feeds the license into the system, it will process the data and generate output instantaneously.
After wage verification, some claims go through a second process of independent wage verification. When the unemployment agency sends a letter to the constituent, in which they can protest the results. At this point, applicants provide supporting documents missed during the first wage verification process.
When a discrepancy occurs, a digital worker can examine the document and assign the case to the right person. RPA sends notifications, improving communication with employees and constituents. If new calculations are needed, a digital worker makes the calculations for those quarters.