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Sagitec Blog

Herculean Task in Maryland Sees Success

Sagitec deployed a comprehensive unemployment insurance claimant portal for the state of Maryland, BEACON One-Stop, on April 24, 2020.  This application enables unemployed workers to apply for all available benefits in one application regardless of whether they may qualify for UI, PEUC, or PUA.  Despite the unprecedented volume of claims and hurdles to implementing new federal programs, Maryland has been able to process 1,563,560 weekly claim certifications received during the pandemic, and 90% of claimants have received payments within the federally required 21 days or sooner.

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Update: BEACON One-Stop System Statistics

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act came into effect on March 27, 2020, significantly increasing the number of Marylanders eligible to receive unemployment benefits. The Maryland Department of Labor and Sagitec partnered to expedite the rollout of BEACON One-Stop to get Marylanders benefits under the CARES Act while continuing to provide benefits to Marylanders who qualified for other programs.

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Maryland Department of Labor BEACON One-Stop - UPDATED

These are unprecedented times. State Workforce Agencies currently face the highest volume of unemployment claims this nation has ever seen. Sagitec partnered with the Maryland Department of Labor to develop BEACON One-Stop. In essence, a portal for Marylanders experiencing unemployment to file claims, submit documentation and receive benefits through any device, including a mobile app.

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Content Delivery Networks can help State Unemployment Agencies Manage High Claims Volumes

Most unemployment insurance systems are still crumbling under high claims volumes and calls.  One of the primary root causes is the legacy systems and code base that many state workforce agencies continue to use to this day. According to an ITSC study released in September 2019, only 16 states have fully modernized their tax, benefits, and appeals systems.  Additionally, regardless of modernization status, all state systems are struggling to meet the needs of their citizens.  

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Case Study: Maryland Unemployment Insurance Claims Volume

The Maryland Department of Labor Division of Unemployment Insurance saw a total number of 108,508 new insurance claims for the week of April 4. This number is a spike of 29% from last week's numbers and call center hours and operations are not able to handle the spike. Unemployment insurance claim numbers are increasing in an unprecedented manner given the Coronavirus pandemic across states. While the department has taken measures to address this by asking citizens to submit claims based on their names and days of week, it is also urging people to file claims online. 

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Chat and Bots: Quick  Solution to Ease the Pressure off Customer Service

Yesterday, 50 people answered 4000 of 196,000 calls received in one state workforce agency to help citizens about unemployment insurance claims. Each of the 50 customer service representatives was working their hardest and served 80 callers each. Fifty people working their hardest resulted in only 0.2% of callers served.

This isn’t a drill. This is real life. This is the crisis we find ourselves in due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Chatbots for Customer Service – How Can You Take Advantage?

Futurists have been envisioning ‘talking computers’ for ages and they are not just science fiction but reality today. Artificial intelligence is already transforming our daily lives. It is no surprise that the government sector is adopting this rapid technological advancement rather quickly. Governments have already begun to adopt chatbots for customer service. Chatbots are computer programs that one can talk to by text or voice and they are helping government agencies improve their speed and quality of service and citizens’ in-turn are getting a better customer experience.

In many cases, chatbots improve customer service - they can speed up interactions, reduce wait times, by way of answering queries with complete accuracy, pulling knowledge instantly from a database, and freeing up valuable time of call center agents. Chatbots are available anytime, anywhere and are easy to use for today’s digital citizens and are soon becoming an essential IT service.

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COVID-19 can Become an Unlikely Catalyst for State Labor Departments to Adopt New Technology. Here is How.

The novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 has undone the world as we know it. Our relationships and interactions with the outside world and with each other have changed completely in just the last few weeks. These changes are unsettling. Will national and international borders remain closed? When will be able to resume our everyday lives or even be able to do something as simple as step out to our favorite restaurants,  bars or cafés? Will human touch become taboo?  Will our lives ever be the “same” again?

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NASWA 2019 Annual Conference Highlights

The National Association of State Workforce Agencies' (NASWA) 83rd Annual Conference just concluded in Boston and, as usual, it was a fantastic event for sharing best practices and fellowship among colleagues from other states. From sessions focused on recession preparation and workforce development to the awesome experience of a full drumline, this will be a conference to remember for years to come.  

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