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Single Sign-On Tool Streamlines Benefits in New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions went live with a new system that requires users to sync existing accounts for an improved experience accessing unemployment services.

New Mexico launched a new single sign-on system (SSO) today for residents to more easily access unemployment benefits, and insurance taxes and claims.

The state’s Department of Workforce Solutions developed the SSO to be an “at-a-glance” experience for users called My Workforce Connection. It requires a unique email address for each person and is available in English and Spanish. The new system merges the Workforce Connection Online System and the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system, each of which required a username and password for residents to gain online access. My Workforce Connection streamlines the process, so people only need to remember one login. The upgrade mirrors efforts from state and local governments to make it easier for users to access services online through streamlined portals. 

Stacy Johnston, the department’s acting public information officer, said a command center was established to handle an influx of residents attempting to navigate the new system, but the phone lines have been relatively quiet, so far.

“We really wanted to be able to enhance our security efforts,” Johnston said. “We wanted to make sure that we weren’t having multiple usernames and passwords, and that people could have something at their fingertips, at a glance, that has one username.”

Existing data from the previous systems won’t be lost when residents create a new account, she said. People will be able to sync their information and saved documents to the SSO. The My Workforce Connection home page will populate job postings in a person’s area or ones they’ve specified an interest in, an overview of their unemployment insurance, and access to other resources. Going forward, she said the system will become even more customizable based on user feedback.

“We are dedicated to being the gateway to employment for New Mexicans whether they are just starting out, looking for their next job, or changing careers,” said Bill McCamley, secretary of the Department of Workforce Solutions, in a statement.

The department also launched an “It’s as easy as … 1-2-3” educational campaign to alert people to the need for their own individual email address. Johnston said sometimes people would share an email to log in to the old systems.

“The biggest thing we try to push out and support is people need to have a unique, individual email address,” she said. “I think a lot of individuals made a lot of those email addresses.”

While the phone lines may be relatively quiet in the department’s command center, Johnston said that could change this weekend. She said many people who’ve applied for unemployment must conduct weekly certifications, which are due Sunday.

“So far so good,” she said. “But we’ll find out more on Monday about how it’s going.”

She said to mitigate any complications, technical support will available on Sunday to answer user questions, help them sign up with the new SSO and aid in syncing accounts in the New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System or Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims System.

New Mexico has already made strides to ensure unemployment benefits are issued correctly. Through the Improper Payments Initiative, the state has reduced overpayment using analytics and pop-up messages targeted toward high-risk claimants.

Johnston said My Workforce Connection will not be used to monitor residents’ benefit eligibility.

Patrick Groves was a staff writer for Government Technology from 2019 to 2020.