DLT Statement on Unemployment Insurance Mailing
July 21, 2015
CRANSTON, RI — The Department of Labor and Training (DLT) announced today that a malfunctioning mail-sorting machine caused the Social Security Numbers (SSNs) of as many as 832 Unemployment Insurance (UI) customers to be misdirected and exposed to the wrong employers or customers. As of today, DLT knows of 18 customers whose full SSNs were sent to the wrong employers.
DLT is offering free credit monitoring services for one year to all affected customers.
DLT’s UI division mails a form known as the Employee Separation Report and Notice of Claim Filed to an employer when it receives a claim for Unemployment Insurance from an individual who says he or she worked for that employer. The employer fills out the form and returns it to DLT, verifying whether or not the claimant worked for the employer, for how long, and the reason for the separation. If the information from both the claimant and employer corroborate, DLT opens a claim.
At the same time, the UI division mails a Monetary Determination letter to inform claimants whether or not they meet the wage requirements needed to entitle them to compensation, what weekly and maximum benefit amounts they may receive, and the beginning and ending dates of their benefit year.
During the week of June 22-26, the optical scanner on the machine that sorts, inserts, and seals mail malfunctioned, causing the machine to misdirect parts of the next sequenced pieces of mail in each envelope to other than the intended recipient. This resulted in forms that included the full and partial SSNs of 832 UI claimants to be mailed accidentally either to companies that the claimants did not work for or to customers whose monetary determinations were meant for someone else.
DLT regrets this error. It was not the result of an IT security breach. It was a mechanical error.
As soon as it detected the problem, DLT had the mail machine serviced and repaired. DLT also has begun requiring operators at its mailing facility to open and inspect random envelopes in every batch of mail processed to ensure that each batch is being processed correctly.
ABOUT DLT: The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunities to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.