I’ve blogged before about the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission and the work we’re doing with them. We’ve now done quite a bit of work on their Electronic Benefits Payments Control (BPC) system, which has resulted in the ability to catch more overpayment of unemployment benefits.

The problem of overpayment

There are essentially two different cases. There are accidental, inadvertent mistakes, where people keep getting unemployment benefits when they shouldn’t be. But there are also plenty of times where people are abusing the system, often out of desperation.

Some people don’t realize this sort of thing is tracked, and they continue to collect unemployment after going to work for someone else. They don’t realize that their new employer has to report their employment to the OESC, and they end up getting caught eventually. Then the individual has to repay that overpayment to the OESC, either by writing a check or having their wages garnished.

The process of catching people

Before we started helping with the system, it was a more manual, rudimentary process. That means the cases they could catch and amounts they could collect were only as good as the number of people they had working for them.

Now the system is much smarter. It’s an artificial intelligence of sorts where a process will be running all the time to look for those suspicious cases and flagging them.

Then the investigators at the OESC can focus on investigating those cases, rather than finding the cases in the first place.

The individuals that were overpaid then get a bill and start the repayment process.

Federal reimbursement through TOP

Another aspect of the system we’re implementing involved reimbursement from the federal government down to the state level for people that are caught in repayment. That program is the Treasury Offset Program (TOP).

There’s a federal database clearinghouse that will allow OESC and agencies in other states to find out whether people are employed in a different state but still receiving unemployment benefits from them.

Because of these changes, the OESC may be able to bring on more staff, as the system will begin producing more cases for them to investigate. That will result in a larger workload but also additional revenue from increased overpayment reimbursement.

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