On October 22, 2010, a weekly PBS television program titled “Need to Know” aired. One of the show’s segments focused on unemployment insurance and included specific references to third-party administrators, including TALX.
Although many of the points within the feature were somewhat sensationalistic and inaccurate, the segment did attempt to educate the public about unemployment insurance eligibility.
However, during the PBS segment, reference was made to dated and incomplete information about TALX’s work with state agencies. TALX is fully committed to aiding the communications process between states and employers to ensure that eligible individuals receive unemployment benefits to which they are entitled. TALX handles millions of claims annually, accurately and efficiently. At no time has TALX intentionally thwarted the claim process or encouraged unnecessary appeals.
In direct response to specific needs at the state level, TALX established a dedicated Government Relations Division to connect regularly with Unemployment Insurance leadership to support successful program administration. Each year, TALX facilitates site visits with state agencies and works together to review the claims and appeals processes. To further enhance communication, this year, TALX leadership met separately with the UI Committee of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) and with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Unemployment Insurance.
TALX is also very engaged in a federal-state initiative known as SIDES (State Information Data Exchange System), which is a method established to improve timeliness, accuracy and cost reductions for all via a standard format for electronic exchange of separation information.
Despite what the PBS segment has potentially led viewers to believe, third-party administrators - - such as TALX - - do not render judgments regarding eligibility for benefits and should not be vilified. And, in the case of TALX, our organization consistently demonstrates true partnership with state and federal organizations to ensure unemployment insurance best practices. Keep in mind:
By law, this system is not entitlement-based. It has been designed to provide unemployment benefits in certain circumstances for certain workers. For example, one such circumstance might be lack of work.
When a former worker believes that he or she is eligible to collect unemployment insurance, that individual files a claim with the state. The state processes the claim and sends it to the person’s former employer to see if the reasons provided by the individual regarding separation and the employer’s records are in agreement. Many employers outsource this process to third-party administrators, similar to how they might hire a payroll processing company or similar expert resource to handle a complex business process.
With the majority of claims, there is agreement and benefits are subsequently processed. In some instances, there is disagreement. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, claimants file three times as many appeals as employers. During the PBS feature, unemployment fraud was cited as significant. In 2009, the number was $2.4 billion.
When an appeal occurs, the states may collect more detailed information from the employer and the individual to make a determination on eligibility.
As a third-party administrator, TALX works within the law to provide information to state agencies based on employer data and documentation. Approximately 65% of all claims handled by TALX do not have an issue of eligibility and the claimant may collect immediately as long as they meet all other state requirements. Only 2% of all claims processed by TALX result in an employer appeal being filed.
To request additional information, please call the TALX hotline: 314-684-2599.