Puerto Rico Labor Dept. investing $22M on new online jobless benefits platform
The Puerto Rico Labor Department will implement a new virtual platform for the island’s unemployment program — a $22 million project for which it has hired the firm Geographic Solution to work in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Innovation and Technology Services (PRITS) office.
The new platform will be developed in phases and will be in operation by the summer of 2022, benefiting people who are unemployed, as well as employers, who will be able to request services, and complete certifications and forms, Labor Secretary Carlos Rivera said.
People will also be able to correct information, submit documents, follow up on claims, coordinate appointments, among other services, electronically.
Of the planned $22 million investment, $15 million have already been budgeted and approved by the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, News is my Business confirmed.
Geographic Solution, which specializes in workforce development and unemployment systems in the United States and other parts of the world, was selected following a Request for Proposals process.
“The new platform “focuses on providing an agile and effective service to the workforce, through real-time technology, maximizing the human capital available to the Labor Department and its productivity,” said Rivera.
One of the advantages of the new digital platform is that it shortens the process of evaluating the application for unemployment assistance, ensuring that the citizen has a response in a period of 24 to 72 hours, which will speed up the disbursement of the approved financial aid. Appeals or reconsiderations of requests may be submitted when they are rejected, he added.
“We’re on our way to having a system for an agile unemployment application process, through which we can also control and save in operations, providing support tools to the employer and a valuable database for the development of a workforce, tempered to the needs and opportunities of these times,” he said.
Meanwhile, PRITS Interim Executive Director Enrique Völckers said the platform will help the Labor Department “maximize the direct services that it offers to the public in an effective way, without depending on the intervention of an employee, while allowing direct integration with other agencies, which minimizes the request for documents. Just as important, it allows the agency to organize and plan in the event of a major emergency, such as the current pandemic.”
As part of the priority changes that the new website will allow, benefits will no longer be paid by check, but rather via an electronic payment through a card.