$4.5 million to improve Kansas unemployment system

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – About $4.5 million is earmarked for the Sunflower State to improve the state’s unemployment insurance system.

U.S. Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS) says the US Department of Labor granted more than $4.5 million to the Kansas Department of Labor to improve unemployment insurance benefits.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congresswoman Davids said Kansans who applied for such benefits faced significant delays due to outdated technology. The funds were provided by the US Bailout Act.

“Under Kansas’ previous administration, our state’s unemployment insurance systems were neglected for nearly a decade, forcing our state to rely on outdated technology during the worst health and economic crisis of our lifetimes. “Davids said. “A year and a half later, the U.S. bailout continues to provide strong, focused, and effective assistance to hardworking Kansas. I am proud to have supported the bill and will continue to work to ensure that Kansans’ needs are met and costs are reduced.

During the pandemic, Rep. Davids said her office helped more than 1,000 residents connect with KDOL after experiencing significant delays in receiving their unemployment benefits. To address this issue, in addition to voting for ARPA, she said she also supported a bill that would invest in the technology needed to modernize the unemployment insurance system.

Earlier in 2022, Davids also said she had officially launched a 26-month, $48 million effort to modernize Kansas’ unemployment insurance system with ARPA funds. She said the current state mainframe used to process benefits was created in the 1970s and the latest push for modernization came from Governor Kathleen Sebelius in 2005 but was abandoned by the Brownback administration. in 2011.

Davids noted that this decision directly led to the inefficiencies and vulnerabilities that have arisen within the state’s unemployment system during the pandemic.

The congresswoman said the new funds will support projects aimed at expanding reach, promoting awareness, improving technology, streamlining instructions, providing translation services, increasing staff and solving problems. other accessibility issues in marginalized communities.

Davids said the grant will enable the Sunflower State to implement projects to ensure systemic barriers do not prevent those in need from accessing benefits. In total, she said $18.2 million had been announced to improve unemployment systems in Kansas, Illinois and Ohio.

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