Kansas passed on earlier plan to upgrade unemployment system

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A software company urged Kansas to upgrade its computer system for handling claims for unemployment benefits but the state didn’t heed that advice five years before a flood of fraudulent claims during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Oracle proposed in 2015 that the Kansas Department of Labor do the upgrade to prevent fraud.

Department leaders in then-Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration concluded much of an upgrade could be handled in-house. But an IT architect who worked on a Department of Labor modernization project canceled in 2011 said accepting Oracle’s proposal would have minimized fraud.

A recent audit suggests Kansas may have paid $700 million to fraudsters.

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