Paid Family Leave payments resume in DC after cyberattack

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D.C. residents who receive weekly Paid Family Leave benefits will see money hit their bank accounts in the next day or two after a recent cyberattack interrupted the financial flow.

Maryland, Virginia and D.C. use the same software company for some services related to unemployment benefits. Geographic Solutions, Inc. informed the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development about an “identified anomalous activity” on its network last week.

The D.C. Department of Employment Services said the GSI service interruption affected the city’s Paid Family Leave system and the Virtual One-Stop benefits portal.

At a news conference Thursday, DOES Director Unique Morris-Hughes said the Office of Chief Technology Officer worked to resume payment processing as quickly as possible.

“OCTO has provided tremendous support in ensuring that we have everything we need to resolve this issue, which is really an issue of the vendor,” Morris-Hughes said.

It is a widespread issue affecting more than 30 state workforce agencies across the country, the D.C. Department of Employment Services said in a news release.

“District residents and Paid Family Leave claimants will be proud to know that the District is among the first two states that will issue payments, and that’s because of the work of the team at the Department of Employment Services and the support of OCTO,” said Morris-Hughes.

The District began issuing payments Thursday evening, and recipients should start seeing them in their bank accounts within 24 to 48 hours.

Morris-Hughes said recipients would see one payment for two weeks, but their Virtual One-Stop portal will reflect the weeks for which they are being paid, and the payment amounts.

Unemployment insurance benefits in D.C. are not affected.

The Maryland Department of Labor said it does not use GSI to administer unemployment insurance. It does use GSI as its Maryland Workforce Exchange vendor and said that during the outage, those who need to upload their re-employment activities should keep private records that can be entered online when the system is back up.

Virginia uses the company in its Workforce Connection. On Wednesday, a Virginia Employment Commission spokesperson said its website had been restored. During the outage, the job seekers were directed to the Career and Workforce’s Labor Market Information website to look for jobs, or to the National Labor Exchange website.

GSI told DOES there was no data breach, and the personal information of users has not been compromised.

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino and Kristi King contributed to this report.

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