Kansas’ unemployment agency going offline for up to 3 days for security upgrade

Unemployment Situation

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Kansas Department of Labor is going offline starting Saturday to install a new security system to fight identity theft.

The agency announced a partnership with LexisNexis to get new identity verification software for the state’s unemployment claim process. The agency will shut down its servers starting Saturday and may stay down until Tuesday. Once the upgrade is complete, KDOL will return to normal operations.

KDOL and Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said the upgrade is similar to what many other states have implemented to fight unemployment fraud in the pandemic.

“Since the start of the pandemic, the Kansas Department of Labor has been fighting two battles – processing a record number of unemployment claims with 40-year old IT systems and a record number of fraud,” Kelly said. “These upgrades will identify and stop the flood of fraudulent claims Kansas and states across the country have been fighting against, so the team at the Department of Labor will have more time to help unemployed Kansans.”

However, yet another delay isn’t sitting well with claimants waiting for help. Ron Williams, an unemployment claimant from Lawrence, said he and his dog would be on the streets without help from friends. Williams said he has burned through his savings, and is now struggling to make ends meet after going without payments.

“I think on the governor’s end, just like she does her weekly COVID address, I think she should do one for unemployment,” Williams said. “I mean, there’s thousands of Kansans that are affected by this.”

The department said benefit payments under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will not be impacted by the upgrade, but everyone will need to verify their identity through the new verification software when it goes online.

The verification system uses questions specific to the person’s credit history to confirm their identity. Afterwards, KDOL said its system will ask the unemployment claimant to set up two-factor authentication on their account to log in moving forward.

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