The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance announced Feb. 23 that it would suspend the use of facial recognition technology through ID.me as a way for unemployment insurance claimants to verify their identities. The department cited decreased claim volumes as the basis for the decision.
The change still allows claimants to verify their identities virtually through a live video chat with an ID.me representative. The live chat option does not collect biometric data.
Unemployment insurance refers to a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.
The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.