Being Out of Work May Be Difficult, But the Task of Filing Pa. Unemployment Claims Is Getting Easier

PA unemployment claim system improvements
Image via Dain Nielson at Flickr.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry is readying a solution that should help soothe the frayed nerves of people out of work in the Commonwealth. It’s being touted as an answer to an avalanche of complaints about the existing method of filing unemployment claims, writes Marc Levy for WHYY. 

The announcement follows a year of frustration over prolonged waits for checks, confusing online procedures for filing, and jammed phone lines for those needing 1:1 counsel.

The antiquated online method and its unpredictable performance was especially irksome because users had to interact with it frequently. Requirements for reported earnings meant twice-monthly visits to the site, often with unpredictable results.

Phone contact for questions and clarifications was even more hit-and-miss. Phone queues took hundreds of tries to get through and long waits for a pick-up.

The new system is scheduled to launch June 8. Its modern software replaces an “…obsolete 40-year-old mainframe legacy system.” 

The new filing system “looks and functions like a modern website, unlike our current one,” said acting Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier. It will be “easy to use, provide access to important information and streamline the unemployment claim filing process for workers, employers, unemployment program staff, and third-party administrators.” 

During the two-week transfer of data to the new system, users will be unable to file unemployment claims. This will delay payments to people who are filing for traditional unemployment benefits. 

The new system will handle:

  • Claims and appeals for unemployment compensation
  • Pandemic emergency unemployment compensation
  • Extended benefits
  • Shared work or short-time compensation
  • Trade readjustment allowances

Read more about how filing an unemployment claim is about to become an out-of-work Pennsylvanian’s least worry at WHYY

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