Unemployment agency chooses Deloitte to replace UIA's aging computer system

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) announced Tuesday that it has chosen Deloitte to design and install a modern, innovative, user-focused unemployment insurance computer system that prioritizes ease of access for workers and employers while also streamlining jobless claims processing. UIA’s current aging architecture makes it difficult to efficiently process worker claims and employer payments, especially during quickly changing economic conditions such as the recent global pandemic.

The new system will replace the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System (MiDAS), first put into use nearly a decade ago under Gov. Rick Snyder. Workers use MiDAS’ Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) to file for jobless claims and certify for benefits; employers use MIWAM to pay unemployment taxes and file reports.

“The Unemployment Insurance Agency is working hard every day to improve all the ways that Michigan workers interact with our unemployment system, and that starts with a new computer system that is human-centered and easy to use,” said UIA Director Julia Dale. “Already, the UIA is in better shape than at any time over the last decade – but that’s not good enough. Michigan workers should be able to apply for benefits with confidence, so they can support their families without worrying about when or if they’ll receive benefits. I am committed to developing a robust and secure system that provides Michiganders with the help they need when they need it.”

The new system is expected to be fully operational in 2025. The total projected cost is more than $78 million over a 10-year contract.

Deloitte, with decades of experience in unemployment insurance modernization, currently supports unemployment insurance benefits and tax systems in 15 states, including California, Florida and Massachusetts. Its Unemployment Framework for Automated Claim & Tax Services (uFACTS) system offers superior program integrity to ensure the timely payment of benefits as well as a robust and comprehensive fraud detection program.

Deloitte’s system will also allow UIA to quickly adapt to react to economic changes that may increase the demand on the state’s UI system, limit the amount of custom coding needed to analyze UI data quickly or make program changes, and connect with other state software, which allows for seamless access for claimants and UIA staff.

As UIA transitions to a new system that prioritizes ease of use and meets Michigan’s unique specifications, workers and businesses should not experience any interruptions in access to MiWAM or the services provided by UIA.

UIA worked collaboratively with the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) to review responses to the agency’s request for proposals (RFP), which was issued earlier this year.

A modernized user-focused environment that lowers barriers to accessing jobless benefits and facilitates job searches for workers is a cornerstone of customer service reforms Dale has launched at the UIA:

• Partnered with Civilla, a Detroit non-profit, to rethink language used in public correspondence with the public.

• Reassigned staff and resources to tackle a case backlog.

• Redesigned the agency’s public website at Michigan.gov/UIA for easier use on mobile phones and tablets.

• Identified initiatives and processes that would ease access to jobless benefits for workers in underserved communities under a $6.8 million equity grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

Installing a new computer system is an important aspect of Dale’s continued transformation of the UIA following a global pandemic. In the year she has been in her leadership role, Dale has also:

• Approved more than 76,000 overpayment waivers this year of state and federal benefits paid out during the pandemic. In the last week in October, UIA issued waivers to 14,045 workers who submitted gross pay instead of net pay, based on confusing federal instructions, when they applied for benefits. Approximately $71 million was waived and an estimated $4.5 million is to be refunded to those eligible for waivers who had begun to pay back their overpayment determination.

• Implemented new ethics and security clearance policies for employees and contractors.

• Collaborated with the Attorney General’s office as well as local, state and federal law enforcement to bring bad actors to justice and combat fraud at the agency.

• Rebuilt to nearly $1.8 billion (and growing) the UI Trust Fund from which weekly benefits are paid to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

Jobless workers with questions about their claim can go to Michigan.gov/UIA and click on the “Schedule an Appointment” link to set up an in-person, phone or virtual meeting with a trained staff member. Convenient times and dates are available. Claimants can also call UIA’s Customer Service at 1-866-500-0017.