FRANKFORT, Ky — In an effort to mitigate fraud and allow state unemployment officials to focus on assisting Kentuckians with legitimate claims, the Office of Unemployment Insurance will require all claimants to meet a new identity verification requirement beginning next week.
Effective Nov. 4, all unemployment insurance (UI) claimants who have not verified their identity with ID.me, a third-party ID verification vendor, will be required to register an account with the company and verify their identity to access their claim.
Labor Cabinet Secretary Jamie Link said requiring all claimants to pass through ID.me before they can reach the portal is the latest maneuver by the cabinet to constrain malicious actors who have stuffed the UI system full of fraudulent claims during the COVID-19 global health pandemic. Those fraudulent claims, he said, have stymied the agency’s ability to pay timely benefits to Kentuckians who rightly deserve them.
“This strategic move is expected to help reduce the number of fraudulent unemployment insurance claims that have been a drag on the program,” Link said. “It will significantly reduce the amount of time our employees spend working on, or even handling, fraudulent claims and allow us to realign our resources to help those claimants who have waited far too long for assistance.”
State unemployment officials began utilizing ID.me in June as part of a series of actions aimed at curtailing fraud and began taking aim over the summer at thousands of dormant claims.
From June 30 through Sept. 1, the agency sent more than 126,000 emails to email addresses associated with dormant claims, requiring that the identity associated with those claims be verified within a specific timeframe.
By mid-September, the state unemployment office had written decisions on 112,801 of those 126,000 claims, effectively disqualifying them. As of Oct. 25, a total of 539,529 decisions had been written on claims lacking identity verification.