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DEED Unemployment Insurance Program wins national award

Monday, January 05, 2015

By Brainerd Dispatch

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has won a national award for improving its appeals process in state unemployment insurance (UI) cases.

The U.S. Department of Labor presented DEED with its "2014 Performance Excellence Award for Unemployment Insurance Appeals" during the recent National Association of State Workforce Agencies annual UI directors' conference in Salt Lake City.

The DEED received the award for creating a new, innovative training program for its unemployment law judges and for developing an online self-service scheduling system for appealing decisions on unemployment insurance benefits.

As a result of these changes, Minnesota has achieved a 100 percent score for six consecutive quarters based on the U.S. Department of Labor's quality review. The changes also enabled Minnesota to issue timely unemployment appeals decisions over the last several years, thus reducing improper benefit overpayments and ensuring that citizens who were entitled to benefits did not have lengthy wait times to receive those payments.

Minnesota currently exceeds federal standards for timeliness, issuing 88 percent of all appeal decisions within 30 days of appeal and 96 percent of decisions within 45 days of appeal. The average age of a pending case is now 13.5 days.

The award for DEED was in the large-state category. Utah won the medium-state award, while Alaska won the small-state award. Minnesota's UI Program provides temporary partial wage replacement for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Under state law, UI clients can appeal if they are not satisfied with a benefits determination by the UI Program. The appeal includes the right to a fair and impartial hearing before an unemployment law judge.

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