The House Labor and Industry Committee approved legislation Tuesday to help ease a problem that has been causing delays in jobless benefits paid to the unemployed.
Rep. Bill Keller (D-Philadelphia) said his measure, House Bill 26, would supplement federal funding for the administration of unemployment compensation by transferring funds from currently existing revenue to assist with processing claims, including in the state's troubled UC Service Centers.
Keller said the money would come from existing employee tax contributions as mandated by law and be paid over four years, with $40 million transferred in the first year.
Keller said his legislation is directed at widespread complications reported by claimants, including busy signals, long wait times, and delays in claims processing, including receiving an initial check.
"People who are unemployed through no fault of their own are not getting paid and are not getting answers, and some are waiting hours or days before they get through to the system, if at all," Keller said. "That is unacceptable, and it is imperative that all parties involved work together to fix it."
Keller said that without his legislation, the Department of Labor and Industry will not be able to maintain current levels of claimant services, including claims processing, benefit payments and customer service.
The bill now moves to the full House for a vote.