Profile: EDD's Disability Insurance Automation Project

This summer, the Employment Development Department (EDD) is scheduled to go live with a new system to enhance service for Californians on disability and the doctors, employers and plan administrators involved in helping them get back to work. The department’s website says the Disability Insurance Automation (DIA) project is an online application being developed to improve access, service delivery and fraud prevention within the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. Mike Howland, the department’s chief information officer, believes strongly in the collective efforts of the project team of more than 100 people, and therefore did not want to be the focus of this profile, said a spokesperson via email. The project’s sponsor is Elizabeth Wahnon, deputy director of the Disability Insurance Branch which administers the SDI and Paid Family Leave insurance programs. The primary contractor is Deloitte Consulting. Howland, who came out of retirement to oversee the department’s IT division, replaced Dale Jablonski as CIO about two years ago. He is currently helping EDD find his eventual replacement, says his office which answered a number of questions for

What is the project’s overall budget? How many years will it take to complete?

The Disability Insurance Automation (DIA) Budget is $157,861,330 as detailed in the current SPR approved November 22, 2011. The DIA project design, development and implementation time frame is 41 months (1/25/10-6/30/13.) This time frame also includes State project start up and close out activities.

What progress has been made? Have you hit any hurdles?

Development and testing of the new DIA project is going very well. Project milestones have been achieved per schedule and the project has not experienced any hurdles atypical of a project of this size. The quality of the new system is being monitored throughout the development process and independent oversight reviews of the project have been positive.

Who is on the project’s executive team?

The executive team consists of a group of Employment Development Department (EDD) deputy directors and branch chiefs. The core group includes four key executives: the Disability Insurance Branch Deputy Director, Information Technology Branch Deputy Director and CIO, the Administration Branch Deputy Director, and the Project Portfolio Management Division Chief.

How will the project benefit the taxpayers? Will it save the state money, if so how much do you estimate?

The DIA project will save taxpayers money by automating manual DI claims processing and enabling work to be done much more efficiently across state DI offices. Taxpayers will also benefit from the ability to electronically file and track DI claims that will speed up the process by which state DI claimants receive their benefits.

Who will host the system?

The DIA System is a web-based system that will interface with the EDD mainframe application systems. It will not be in the cloud. The infrastructure will be hosted at the State OTech Data Center.

Can you describe any innovative technologies being used?

The new DIA system makes use of several innovative and timesaving technologies, including:
A faster, more efficient claims filing and processing channel through the Internet, as well as OCR;
An automated business rules that will speed up and standardize the processing of claims, freeing up DI staff to spend more time on complex claims rules;
Integration with OCR and Scanning modules to allow faster entry of paper forms filed by claimants, employers and medical providers;
A statewide management of work that will increase efficiency across the state’s multiple DI offices;
Tools to assist in EDD’s processes to detect and deter fraud;
Integration with the Department’s investment in the Identity Management System that will allow external users to self-register and manage their accounts.

Bill Maile was editor of Techwire from 2011 to 2016.