LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In an effort to prevent fraud, everyone filing for unemployment benefits in Kentucky will have to verify their identity using a new system starting Thursday.
Unemployment insurance fraud skyrocketed during the pandemic, so the state is taking extra steps to confirm people are who they say they are before they can file unemployment claims.
"We've not seen this before," said Buddy Hoskinson, executive director of Kentucky's Office of Unemployment Insurance. "We've had fraud in unemployment insurance, don't get me wrong. We've always had fraud in federal government programs, but nothing to this magnitude."
The Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance partnered with ID.me, a third-party vendor that will help confirm people's identities.
Here's what you need to know about verifying your identity
If you're filing for unemployment in Kentucky, you'll have to verify your identity with the new ID.me system starting Nov. 4.
If you don't, you won't have access to your claim.
According to the ID.me website, the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance will send you an email that includes a link to register.
Hoskinson said some people may already be registered from targeted identity checks the agency ran earlier this year.
Make sure you have a government-issued ID when registering because you'll be asked to upload a photo of your driver's license or passport.
You'll also be asked to submit a selfie and input your social security number during the verification process.
If you're not verified using the documents provided, you'll be connected with a live representative that'll work to confirm your identity or tell you the next steps on how to proceed.
"If it doesn't get valid, then you need to either produce the information that is needed, or we have stopped a possible imposter," Hoskinson said.
While this adds another step to the process of filing claims, Hoskinson said it's needed.
"In order for us to be more efficient and to be able to do the work and do the work for the citizens who need it, this is a requirement," Hoskinson said. "This is something that's going to have to happen."
The agency already conducted targeted identity checks with the ID.me system.
From June 30 through Sep. 1, they sent 126,000 emails associated with dormant unemployment claims.
The agency ended up disqualifying 112,801 claims, which equates to almost 90%, because they couldn't verify identities.