Online verification through ID.me was supposed to help the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) prevent widespread fraud while rushing unemployment benefits to those who needed it most during the pandemic.
Instead, wait times to get verified for some stretched up to 10 hours, and in one case in California, actually took three days. A six-month investigation by the House Oversight Committee found evidence that ID.me “downplayed excessive wait times,” hiding the problem from federal and state agencies by only providing data related to successful connections, Politico reported. This likely kept aid out of reach for those most in need, whose technology access was not reliable enough to stay connected through substantially delayed wait times.
In a statement, chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), described the evidence revealed by the investigation as “appalling.” The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis chairman, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), expressed disappointment that ID.me did not deliver as a partner in US efforts to quickly disburse aid.