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Lawmakers want answers to Unemployment busy signals - abc27 WHTM

Lawmakers want answers to Unemployment busy signals

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Thousands of unemployed workers across the state have been calling, and calling, and calling the hotline to make an unemployment claim.

They've gotten busy signals.

They've gotten angry.

So a joint committee of the House and Senate tried to get answers from Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway. Lawmakers also vented a little.

"The system as it sits today is broken," said Rep. William Keller (D-Philadelphia).

Lawmakers' phones have been ringing off the hook with frustrated constituents looking for help with their claims and unable to access the system.

abc27 has also heard from hundreds of you beyond frustrated. You've written about hundreds of calls in with no response. Hours and hours of attempts to reach an actual human being.

Hearthway admits there's a problem and calls it "unacceptable." She says her team's working on a solution, but she blames kinks in a new phone system and pesky download-able apps that let callers automatically redial.

"It does clog the system," Hearthway said. "It's wreaking havoc and we ask that you refrain from doing that."

Lawmakers aren't attacking. Yet. But they made it clear they want a fix and fast.

"We can't sit here and complain that people who need a check and are paying for a .99 app is defeating over a $100 million computer in the state of Pennsylvania. It's not fair to them."

Representative Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) said, "I'm gonna watch it closely. I take her at her word today, and we'll see what happens in the next couple weeks."

Hearthway insisted call volumes are dropping and the problem will be solved. She just couldn't say exactly when.

"We are on the road to recovery. Things are better."

But abc27 viewer Susan has been burned, and on Facebook she expressed her skepticism.

"Someone is pulling your chain. News people you try calling and see your results. Duh!"

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