ID.me and Sterling Launch In-Person Identity Verification Service to Streamline Access to Government Services Nationwide
New Jersey becomes first state to offer secure, in-person identity verification to increase equity and access to unemployment benefits
– Partnership increases equity and access to government benefits
– Individuals who don’t have a mobile device, dedicated internet access, or strong digital skills can now securely verify their identity in person
– New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) is the first partner to roll out the new in-person offering to provide access to more residents
ID.me, the leading secure digital identity network used by 64 million individuals, today announced the launch of an in-person identity verification solution in partnership with Sterling Check Corp. , the leading provider of background screening and identity services. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is the first government agency to utilize the new service, which allows individuals – even those without a mobile device or dedicated internet access– to verify their identity at retail locations across the United States. New Jersey requires identity verification to obtain unemployment benefits.
During the pandemic, unemployment reached 14.8% – the highest rate observed since data collection started in 1948, according to the Congressional Research Service. At the same time, the Federal Trade Commission reported identity theft tied to government benefits increased by 2,920%. Given the dual imperative to serve those in need while providing strong security, ID.me and Sterling developed in-person verification to augment digital verification options.
“In-person verification moves ID.me closer to realizing our goal of ‘No Identity Left Behind.’ We are punching through deeply embedded structural barriers to meet people where they are and to push the edge for access closer to all individuals,” said Blake Hall, founder and CEO of ID.me. “Combined with our self-serve online and video chat processes, today’s in-person launch establishes the first secure and omnichannel identity verification process in America.”
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Robert Asaro-Angelo, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, noted his agency’s focus on making sure all residents can access benefits.
“We have been focused on delivering equity and accessibility for all New Jersey residents since day one, and this is another tool that allows us to continue with that mission,” Asaro-Angelo said. “Enhancing our ability to verify individuals through ID.me with the addition of in-person channels enables us to more effectively reach those who, for whatever reason, had trouble doing so online without compromising trust and security.”
ID.me and Sterling have been on the ground for months fine-tuning this solution with NJDOL, followed by recently completed, successful user testing.
“Sterling is thrilled to partner with ID.me in expanding secure identity verification and proofing and to provide availability for those without a mobile device or dedicated internet access,” said Josh Peirez, CEO of Sterling. “Our industry knowledge, innovative technology and relationships with more than 47,000 clients, paired with ID.me’s services allow us to increase access to a verified identity.”
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Sterling’s Identity Network spans more than 650 retail facilities in neighborhoods across the U.S., offering background and identity services to a range of companies, including many of the nation’s largest financial institutions. Individuals benefit from having access to in-person identity verification in their local communities assisted by trained technicians.
A. McNair, a property manager in New Jersey, was able to complete her verification in person at a retail location close to her home. “The in-person identity verification process was quick and convenient,” said McNair, who started receiving benefits after visiting the in-person location.
All potential unemployment claimants must verify their identity before they can receive benefits, per federal law. Verifying the identity of the person applying for benefits is required, and ID.me performs this service for NJDOL. Eligibility for benefits is determined separately.
ID.me partners can purchase the new in-person identity verification offering to help expand access to secure, easy-to-use identity verification. Once an individual verifies their identity in person, they will never need to verify again. They can then use their ID.me credentials to gain access to other government and commercial services.
Sterling and ID.me are collaborating on additional solutions to strengthen and speed identity verification. The two companies are incubating concepts and working with early customers to make new solutions available in the coming months.
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