New computer system to speed up processing unemployment claims in Pa.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s no secret, the state department of labor and industry has been riddled with issues getting unemployment benefits to Pennsylvanians on time during the pandemic. They’re saying more staff and a new computer system will mean unemployment money arrives faster.

The new unemployment benefits system will be available on June 8 and will replace the current system, which is 40 years old. If you’re scheduled to file your biweekly claim the week of May 30, you’ll have a shortened timeframe because of the transition, and will have to file by June 2.

“And everyone will be moving to a weekly filing pattern,” Jennifer Berrier, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Acting Secretary said.

Right now, the department says it’s processed 94% of the regular unemployment compensation claims that it’s received. After the new system is running and staff is fully trained, we’re told they should be able to process claims about 10% faster, and it should be easier to use as well.

“Information that is uploaded to their dashboard is actually received by us in real time and allows for our staff to respond to that additional information in real time as well, whereas before you were sending something to a resource account or sending it through mail,” said Berrier.

The department will be holding virtual workshops beginning this week to help people prepare. You can find more information here. There were about 230 new customer service representatives added on Monday answering calls, with an additional 200 set for later this month. That way, the current staff can focus exclusively on resolving problems with existing claims.

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