Big data and cloud technology has become highly important in the public sector. The government relies on big data and AI to solve all kinds of challenges, ranging from education to public works to the administration of social assistance.
Unfortunately, not all big data solutions have hit the mark. In some instances, the algorithms were not administrated properly, so people in need don’t get the assistance that they requested. This underscores the need for better optimized big data technology for these public assistance programs. Pennsylvania has discovered this the hard way.
Pennsylvania’s Big Data Failings Create Issues for the Unemployed
Imagine being let go from your job or losing your business. You try to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, hoping the funds will help you cover essential expenses. Unfortunately, there are complications throughout the application process that made it difficult for you to receive compensation or even qualify for specific programs. Attempts to reach out to the Pennsylvania Labor Department are unsuccessful.
After weeks of waiting, you finally receive payment. You use the funds to handle your bills. Then suddenly, you’re told there was a glitch in the system, and you were overpaid either due to fraud or through an error by the state. As a result, your following few payments are less and less to make up for the overpayment. If they believe you defrauded the system, payments automatically stop, and legal actions pursue.
This is one of the problems that can occur when big data is not adequately used to deal with these challenges. In some cases, this was due to legitimate fraud. However, the system often failed to train the data analytics models properly, which puts the burden on the unemployed. A poorly structured big data algorithm could even lead to some recipients being unfairly charged with fraud.
A Malfunctioning System Leads to Statewide Hardship
Believe it or not, thousands of PA residents are dealing with this very issue. The state’s shift to a new unemployment system resulted in catastrophic glitches and fraud that caused complications with applications and benefit checks. Although the exact reason for this is still being determined, it appears that it may have partially been due to relying on a data analytics framework that was not tested as vigorously as it should have been. Fixing the critical error ultimately left many residents without the money they need to survive.
Fortunately, there are some steps that Pennsylvania residents can take, even if they were let down by a poor performing big data system.
If you happen to be one of those affected by this, you’re probably wondering what to do and where to turn from here. Continue reading for advice.
Apply For A Waiver
If you received a notice that you were overpaid in benefits that weren’t fraud-related, you could apply for a waiver. That way, you’re not required to pay back money for an error you didn’t cause.
Consider An Appeal
If you were accused of fraud or are denied a waiver, you should consider filing an appeal. If you can show proof that you did not intentionally defraud the government, you can get them to change your claim to a non-fraud overpayment.
There are other government and private programs for residents that are unemployed or underemployed. These programs assist with everything from utility and rent payments to healthcare and groceries. Review the requirements and apply as soon as possible to get some form of relief.
Start Your Job Search
The good news is that many companies need employees. While the competition is stiff, you should spend time putting in applications and resumes. If you’re having a hard time finding a suitable position, you can invest in your educational or professional experience to increase your chances.
For instance, if you were interested in an architecture career, you could take professional development courses, enroll in online training programs, or go back to school for a degree, to boost your chances of getting hired.
In the meantime, you may want to start searching for opportunities to earn money on the side. Although it may not be enough money to supplement your income, it reduces your financial burden. You can become a rideshare driver, deliver fast food, housesit, walk dogs, babysit, and even complete odd and end jobs online to earn some extra cash.
Reorganize Your Finances
It’s time to take a hard look at your finances. If you’re going to survive, you’ll need to cut unnecessary spending, find ways to save on necessities and live on a reasonable budget. You should also contact creditors, lenders, and service providers to apply for financial assistance or to restructure repayments, so they’re more affordable. Those in dire straights might consider debt consolidation or even bankruptcy.
Big Data Failings May Have Harmed Pennsylvania Residents – But They Can Still Take Action
Big data technology has had a lot of major benefits for the public sector, which explains why the government is investing more in it. However, there are still some challenges that have been created as a result of poor performing data analytics interfaces. The unemployment system in Pennsylvania is a testament to this.
As if the pandemic and losing your job or business wasn’t enough, the struggle to get financial assistance took the cake. Pennsylvania residents went through so much to get relief, only to have it backfire weeks later. With little to no unemployment benefits coming in, many are finding it hard to get by.
Although there’s not much anyone can do to change the current circumstances, there are ways to make getting back on track easier. Start by applying for a waiver, getting financial assistance from other sources, and then looking for a job and other income sources to help you weather this storm.