MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott announced Wednesday that the state will provide a suite of identity protection services to all unemployment insurance claimants who will receive a 2020 1099-G from the Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL). This service is being provided in response to the inadvertent disclosure that occurred on Jan. 29, when VDOL mailed incorrect 1099-G forms to some unemployment claimants.
“Protecting Vermonters and their personal information is my top priority in this situation, and I encourage all claimants to enroll in these services,” said Scott in a prepared statement. “I know this does not make up for the concerns this incident has caused, but I do hope it provides some reassurance that your identity can be protected and monitored, and in worst case scenarios, expenses will be covered to restore incurred losses.”
While not all unemployment insurance claimants were impacted by the unintentional disclosure, Scott said the state will offer these services to the more than 100,000 2020 unemployment beneficiaries, out of an abundance of caution.
“I would again like to extend my sincerest apology to those who are impacted by this incident and reinforce that the Department of Labor remains committed to ensuring its processes are of the highest quality and that the information we are entrusted with is safe and secure,” said Commissioner of Labor Michael Harrington. “With that in mind, we will continue to review and improve our procedures as we work to regain the public’s trust.”
Next week claimants will receive direct notification containing details and instructions from IDX, the state’s contracted vendor. As soon as claimants sign up, protections will be retroactive to Jan. 29, the date of the incident. The protection will last for a minimum of 12 months from the date of the incident.
The Scott Administration purchased a cyber security insurance policy in May 2019 to protect the identities of Vermonters affected by these incidents. Initial estimates were thought to be up to $7 million, but this insurance policy, and more affordable pricing from the vendor, resulted in the state covering just the $250,000 deductible, according to the governor’s office.
In addition to the services provided through IDX, claimants are also encouraged to contact the three major credit bureaus to place a security freeze on their credit.
The Department of Labor is issuing recapture envelopes this week. Claimants should expect to see a VDOL envelope with instructions and a return envelope to mail back the 1099-G document they were mailed VDOL, even if it is believed to have accurate information. The Department is verifying and validating claimant information to reissue accurate VDOL 1099-G forms to all 2020 unemployment insurance claimants.