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Ohio Adopts Cloud-based Single Sign-on Solution for Unemployment Claims

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The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is taking advantage of the InnovateOhio Platform’s (IOP) cloud-based single sign-on solution, requiring state residents claiming or applying for unemployment benefits to set up a state identity account.

The requirement to use OH|ID lets Ohioans interact with multiple state agencies and access a variety of programs and services with a single user account. About 2, 61,000 people have gone through the process to link their OH|ID and Ohio Job Insurance Benefit (OJI) system accounts.

It is getting us closer to the step of [being] a trusted identity with the state, basically offering identity proofing services at the OH|ID level instead of making every agency partner with Experian or LexisNexis to do the services on their own.

– Neal Gallucci, Technical Administrator, IOP

At the same time, however, each agency, such as ODJFS, can make its own identity decisions using adaptive access. Officials with the unemployment benefits program early on decided that they would like every person who is accessing the website to be able to at least file a claim, so they sign for an account, we validate their email address, they’re then asked to go through an Experian identity check, and they answer a couple of questions.

That results in a confidence score that dictates the next steps. For instance, a low score could result in a denied claim, while a high one fast-tracks the applicant through the system. Someone without a credit history on file would be directed to an OJI adjudication process for further evaluation.

In fact, between April 2020 and June, JFS paid more than $3.8 billion by mistake or because of fraud, according to the state auditor’s October report. Multifactor authentication (MFA) was also added so that if someone got a credential, they couldn’t just log into an account and adjust the bank payment to route it to their bank. Multifactor authentication prevents account takeover, prevents credential harvesting.

For ODJFS, OIP set up a trust between its IBM Cloud and IBM appliance server-based solution. Cloud was necessary to handle the expected scale of users. Recently, there have been half a million login attempts on OJI.

Since a server-based environment would be difficult to scale, they brought in the cloud for the MFA and adaptive access as well as the scale.  To stave off a call centre rush when the account requirement went live, IOP followed a change management plan that included training help-desk staff and asking active filers to set up OH|IDs.

Ohio studied the user journey and placed the proper infographics and documentation to walk people through the process, so when people were being ported from OJI over to OH|ID, we placed an infographic, which would tell them what the process would look like. Everything IOP does is enterprise-grade; any state organisation may use it. The success of this project has already caught other entities’ attention

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Ohio has launched a statewide platform to help social workers connect the state’s 3,100 foster youth with permanent families. Children’s services and the foster care system can be difficult for social workers to navigate, often forcing them to track down and engage with a child’s extended family members on their own. Through a partnership with Connect Our Kids, social workers can access the company’s People Search and Family Connections tools to map out family trees and find contact information for potential caregivers.

People Search is a free search engine that leverages data from over 300 public domain sources and from PIPL, an identity information provider that Connect Our Kids partners with. With People Search, social workers, family recruiters and court-appointed special advocates can more easily locate and contact the extended families or guardians of foster children.

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