State Dept. of L&I looks to increase efficiency by hiring additional staff

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry is increasing its ability to answer calls and emails regarding unemployment benefits.

The state department says staff should be able to answer 8,000 calls and 11,000 emails daily by the end of December after hiring additional staff members to help with the copious amounts of inquiries.

Meanwhile, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs are set to expire on Dec. 26 unless the federal government extends them.

If Pa. residents are entitled to unemployment compensation and do not receive benefits before the deadline, Susan Dickinson, director of the unemployment compensation benefits policy, insists they will be paid.

“If there’s something we have to look into, while we’re working on that, that doesn’t affect anything. All claimants regardless of whether they’re eligible or ineligible or if they don’t know, if they’re seeking benefits, they should be filing for those weekly or bi-weekly depending on which program they’re on,” Dickinson said.

97-percent of regular unemployment claims have been paid out since the start of the pandemic, with three percent (or 47,000 people) who have yet to be paid.

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