A Georgia project aimed at preventing unauthorized access to unemployment insurance has earned a first-place award from the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO).

The Georgia Department of Labor's (DOL) identity verification project was the recipient of a 2021 State IT Recognition Award in the category of Business Process Innovations. The award was presented at the NASCIO annual conference on October 12.

The project sought to combat fraudulent access to unemployment insurance as the agency faced an influx of claims due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of an upgrade of its UI benefits payments system, DOL introduced integration with ID.me, a software-as-a-service (SAAS) solution that provides secure identity verification and a unique federally certified digital identity. Implemented in September 2020, ID.me complemented and enhanced DOL's existing fraud prevention applications and enabled the agency to manage costs.

NASCIO selected 10 winners from 110 submissions for 2021, which marked the 33rd consecutive year NASCIO has honored outstanding technology achievements in state government.

"We congratulate all of the recipients of this year's awards and are delighted to recognize them with this high honor," said NASCIO Awards Committee co-chairs, Nelson Moe, CIO for Virginia, and James Weaver, Secretary of Technology and CIO for North Carolina.

The awards showcase the use of IT to address critical business problems, more easily connects citizens to their government, improve business processes, and create new opportunities that improve the lives of citizens.