TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Labor is seeking bidders for a potential $46 million information technology overhaul of the agency’s unemployment computer system that was exposed as sluggishly anti-consumer and shockingly fraud-friendly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The administration of Gov. Laura Kelly has come under withering criticism during the past year from Kansas businesses and individuals as well as state legislators for IT shortcomings that inhibited prompt processing of jobless claims and contributed to identity-theft fraud in amounts potentially ranging between $300 million to $600 million.
The agency was stuck a year ago with an archaic mainframe that had its origins in the 1970s and wasn’t upgraded a decade ago as intended. Prior to the pandemic, Kelly began the process of planning and financing a modernization program.