The Rise of Facial Recognition Software for Unemployment Claims
Around ten years ago, a company called ID.me started providing identification services for the VA to vet former military service members so they could take advantage of discounts and services available to service members and veterans. The goal, simply put, was to make sure that people were who they claimed to be and that they had the right to those discounts. The company used facial recognition solutions to clearly identify the people who had actually served and who, therefore, genuinely deserved those discounts and that recognition.
More recently, they’ve started helping verify the identity of people applying for unemployment.
Last year, the federal government pumped over a trillion dollars into the states to cover unemployment benefits. As much as 10 percent of those funds, however, were taken through fraud: people who claimed to be unemployed but weren’t. Early in the pandemic, those benefits were pumped out fast in an effort to help people keep their homes, pay their bills, and have enough money on and for food and other basic necessities. While that fast response to unemployment claims was intended to benefit the American people who lost their jobs due to COVID-19, it also led to much higher levels of fraud, since many organizations did not have the opportunity to fully vet the individuals who were applying for those benefits.
Facial recognition software aims to help decrease that fraud, clearly identifies the people who need and deserve those benefits, and provides an additional level of security.
The Loaded Implications of Facial Recognition
While facial recognition software has a number of benefits, including decreasing overall fraud, not everyone agrees that this is the best way to stay on top of that potential fraud. Some people are even refusing to apply for unemployment benefits, despite deserving considerable benefits through the program, because of the ID.me program. They are concerned with privacy and the other challenges that they may have to contend with as they use the ID.me program to provide proof of who they are.
ID.me–and the assistance programs that use it–continue to contend that it is the best possible solution for decreasing fraud and clearly identifying the people who deserve those benefits. The only exceptions ID.me will make include children or people who cannot use or do not have the technology for some reason. As many as 15% of people today, for example, still do not have smartphones. If you don’t have that technology, you can still apply for benefits, but it may prove much more difficult to secure them. The reason? The sheer level of fraud associated with unemployment benefits throughout the pandemic.
New Technology, New Importance
The ID.me program is a relatively new institution that has really increased over the past couple of years. As a result of the pandemic, fraud has become an increasing challenge for unemployment agencies. Not only does the fraud come from within the United States, but it also comes from eastern Europe. People who are interested in setting up the fraud create a bank account, funnel unemployment money into it, and then shut down the bank account quickly in an effort to prevent law enforcement from tracking them. The increase in fraud means that fraudulent claims are draining those critical programs–and ID.me aims to help decrease that fraud. Now, even with the economy seeming set to recover, that technology is more important than ever.
Facial recognition is just one of the many types of technology that has increased recently, both due to the pandemic and as a result of the natural increase in human knowledge. Want to stay on top of the latest changes in the field? Contact us today for more information.