Plan to revamp Hawaii’s unemployment insurance system takes cues from other states

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii’s unemployment insurance system is finally getting an upgrade to transform the delivery of essential services.

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On Thursday, the Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced that it has executed a contract with vendor Solid State Operations, Inc. to replace “an aging, legacy mainframe system designed in the 1980s with a web-based application.”

The new system will lower total costs and add more flexible capabilities that will transform the way essential services are delivered to unemployed workers, the news release said.

“We are building upon previous legwork with the State of Idaho and personnel at Solid State involved in an effort that ended with the onset of the pandemic,” said DLIR Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio. “We are excited to work with Solid State and Alabama’s Department of Labor to renovate our system and expect to achieve the tremendous results Alabama accomplished.”

Hawaii’s plan to upgrade follows Solid State’s revamp of Alabama’s UI system, which launched in January 2020. In September, Alabama ranked No. 1 in the nation in benefits payment timeliness. The system also paid over $4 billion in benefits by the end of the year.

“Many of the hard-won lessons that we’ve learned in Alabama are now incorporated in the features of this system,” said John Demas, IT Director, Alabama Department of Labor. “Alabama is excited to be instrumental in providing Hawaii a head-start in achieving some of the exceptional results that we’ve experienced. This kind of state-to-state sharing is key to providing good government services to our citizens.”

According to the news release, the DLIR Data Station will replace all current essential Benefits, Tax and Appeals UI functionality with cloud-hosted, software-as-a-service application.

DLIR says the new platform will be easier to use, offer more automation and will accomplish the following: save money on IT costs, staff hours, and training costs; prevent UI-related fraud, waste, and abuse; provide timely, uninterrupted benefits to unemployed workers of Hawaii; and provide accurate charges and modern services to Hawaii employers.

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