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Daily News

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) announced it has implemented new security measures to speed up identity verification and protect claimant accounts. These measures also address the continued surge of fraudulent claim attempts.

The Department has contracted with the security vendor ID.me, a federally certified identity-verification provider that specializes in digital identity protection. ID.me will implement solutions designed to reduce wait times on identity verification issues for unemployment claimants.

This new mobile-friendly method of identity verification will help protect the integrity of the system and allow DUA to make payments more quickly to legitimate claimants. ID.me is being implemented for the traditional Unemployment Insurance (UI) program. The identity verification process for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provides financial assistance to groups like the self-employed, is not undergoing any changes at this time.

The initial group of claimants who will benefit from the introduction of ID.me are those who are currently waiting for identity-verification issues to be adjudicated. ID.me will be added for new claimants in the coming weeks.

For all claimants clearing the ID.me process, a notice of approval will be issued from UI Online, and, if otherwise eligible, payments to the claimant will commence within several days.

DUA is also implementing additional multi-factor authentication (MFA) measures within the UI Online system to help reduce the risk of fraud and cybersecurity attacks. MFA is an authentication method that requires the user to provide an additional form of verification to gain access to a system. Generally, this is a code sent to the claimant’s cell phone or e-mail that the claimant must then enter to access UI Online. MFA is one aspect of a strong identity and access-management policy that strengthens access to these critical systems and reduces the likelihood of cybersecurity attacks.

Daily News

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has begun the disbursement of lost-wages assistance (LWA) benefits to pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) claimants. Payments are expected in claimant accounts by Saturday, Sept. 5. For those who are eligible for LWA through the standard unemployment insurance (UI) program accessed through UI Online, benefits are expected to be disbursed on or before Sept. 15.

The Commonwealth’s application to receive grant funding to pay a limited additional weekly unemployment benefit to claimants under the federal LWA program for the weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8, and Aug. 15 was recently approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The application was submitted by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with DUA. An additional application for the week of Aug. 22 has been sent to FEMA, and the Massachusetts DUA is awaiting review by FEMA.

Per FEMA’s authorization, the grant will fund an additional $300 weekly payment to those who are eligible for at least $100 in weekly unemployment benefits for the three weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8, and Aug. 15.

The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance continues to work on the technology and business requirements necessary for this program and anticipates being able to quickly deliver retroactive funds to all eligible claimants in the coming weeks. Most eligible claimants currently receiving benefits do not need to take any action because the Commonwealth will automatically add LWA to their weekly benefit payment retroactive to the dates specified in the grant.