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Couple hopes new DWD partnership with Google will finally lead to payment

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JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- It took six months but Kari Carter got payment last month from the Department of Workforce Development for her unemployment claim. However, the amount was several thousand dollars short of what she was expecting.

"They said she's disqualified for the regular unemployment but they actually had her do the (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) application but we still received some of them money for the regular unemployment but not nearly as much as were supposed to have got," her husband, Karry Carter, said.

The couple remained flummoxed Thursday that in the six-month wait, no one from DWD let them know Kari needed to apply for PUA, a temporary federal program.

Earlier this week, the state agency announced it entered a partnership with Google Cloud to more quickly process claims. The DWD said it had processed 92 percent of about 7.4 million weekly claims since the week of March 15. However, that total includes people like Kari Carter who wait half-a-year only to learn most of her money was likely tied to the federal PUA program, for which her application was still pending.

The DWD's communications office did not respond to 27 News' questions Thursday.

Mike Masino, an information security instructor at Madison College, said the partnership would likely improve processing speeds because the DWD can use the cloud system to set up checkpoints and quickly move forward claims that meet key criteria.

"You can automate some things," Masino said. "You can put in a rule that says 'if X,Y,Z is true, this can get moved forward' so I think it's possible it could speed things up."

Masino said users of the site should not worry about the security of a cloud-based system. He said the most likely way hackers would file fraudulent claims is the same as before the partnership: by obtaining someone's personal information and using it to log into the DWD website or create an account.

"It always comes down to an end user," Masino said. "If somebody can trick somebody into giving them authentication information to get into the site, there's not a good way to protect against that."

The change could possibly help in cases like Carter's, since she said one hold-up was her name prior to the marriage being in the DWD system, which caused some confusion. The cloud-based system could improve situations where an applicant needs to update profile information.

Masino said Google was better equipped than the DWD to handle the sheer volume of claims.

"Think about Gmail or the search engine, for that matter," Masino said. "They're used to dealing with large amounts of data and making it available."

Karry Carter said the initial payment will aid in the couple's search for a new apartment. He was hopeful the Google processes system would grant quick approval, meaning Kari's remaining money from the PUA program would soon come.

"If it's able to get things moving a little quicker, it could help us a little quicker too before winter jumps in real tough here," Karry said.

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A. J. Bayatpour

Reporter, WKOW 27

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