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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210

CLASSIFICATION

UI

CORRESPONDENCE SYMBOL

TEUPDI

ISSUE DATE

July 28, 1997

RESCISSIONS

None

EXPIRATION DATE

12/31/98

DIRECTIVE

:

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAM LETTER NO. 37-97

 

TO

:

ALL STATE EMPLOYMENT SECURITY AGENCIES

 

FROM

:

GRACE A. KILBANE
Director
Unemployment Insurance Service

 

SUBJECT

:

The Department of Labor's Position on the Utilization of Telephone and Other Electronic Methods of Claimstaking in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program

  1. Purpose. To advise State Employment Security Agencies (SESAs) of the Department's position on the use of telephone and other electronic methods of claimstaking.

  2. References. Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) No. 35-95; UIPL No. 5-97; UIPL No. 38-96 and UIPL No. 38-96, Change 1.

  3. Background. In support of SESAs' decisions to implement remote initial claimstaking, a series of planning grants and implementation grants were provided during Fiscal Year (FY) 1996. Implementation grants were also awarded in FY 1997. Additional implementation grants may be offered next fiscal year if funds are appropriated for such use. Due to the limited funds available, the grants are being awarded on a competitive basis and are limited to financing one-time implementation costs for acquisition of telecommunications equipment and related services.

    The Department's interpretation of several Federal requirements in a remote claimstaking environment was issued in UIPLs No. 35-95 and No. 5-97, dated June 28, 1995 and December 2, 1996, respectively. In addition, the Department issued UIPL No. 38-96, dated September 26, 1996, and UIPL No. 38-96, Change 1, dated January 7, 1997, to advise SESAs of changes to the Interstate Statistical Data Exchange format and data exchange instructions. However, additional questions have been raised about the Department's position concerning the use of telephones and other remote means for initial claimstaking as an alternative, or in addition to in-person claimstaking, as well as the impact of such remote initial claimstaking on a State's One-Stop Career Center concept. This directive contains the Department's position.

  4. Department's Position. The Department will continue to assist SESAs in implementing systems that are technologically feasible and efficient in an effort to deliver quality services to claimants. However, the Telephone Claims Implementation Grants are not an attempt to dictate a single method of service delivery for the SESA, nor does the Department's support imply that the transition to remote claimstaking is considered more desirable than in-person service delivery. The Department recognizes that SESAs are better situated to assess the methods that best serve their claimant and employer needs.

    The FY 1996 and 1997 Telephone Initial Claims Implementation Grants announcements advised SESAs that proposals should provide for the use of remote procedures in taking a majority of initial claims. The Department plans to reevaluate its criteria with regard to future telephone implementation grants.

  5. Relationship between Remote Initial Claimstaking and One-Stop Career Centers. The UI program is a significant part of the State's new workforce development system. Therefore, its role in the State's One-Stop Career Center operations is considered significant whether it is an in-person physical presence or through the use of remote access.

    As a part of the national initiative of building a high-priority integrated Workforce Development System, ETA is initiating a national dialogue regrading the development of a vision for the UI program within the Workforce Development (or One-Stop Career Center) System. It is expected that a Training and Employment Information Notice will be issued in the immediate future to engage SESAs and other stakeholders in that consultative process.

  6. Action Required. SESA Administrators should inform appropriate staff of the Department's position as set forth in this program letter.

  7. Inquiries. Questions should be directed to the appropriate Regional Office.