UPDATE: Pa. Labor and Industry Department addresses errors and changes to new unemployment compensation system

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa, (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) has replaced its decades-old mainframe with a new, faster, and easier-to-use Unemployment Compensation (UC) system on Tuesday, June 8.

“Today, Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation system took a giant leap forward not just in terms of technology, but in the quality of service we are able to provide,” Active Secretary Jennifer Berrier said. “L&I staff have been working hard to make the transition to this new system seamless for users. As we see users logging on and successfully filing their claims in this faster and easier-to-use system, we are thrilled to see our vision of a modern, intuitive unemployment has finally come to fruition.”

As of Tuesday morning, L&I tweeted about a Commonwealth-wide phone outage impacting many phone lines and the ability to made and received calls.

The online UC system is back up and running and phone services have been restored. Claimants can now use the customer service lines for bot unemployment compensation and pandemic unemployment assistance.

All eligible UC and PEUC claimants will be able to file for available weeks and filing will change from biweekly to weekly.

In addition, most claimants will not see a delay in their benefits because the offline period will fall from Thursday to Monday.

L&I Office of Unemployment Compensation

As changes begin to roll out, the department encourages claimants to familiarize themselves with the new system through a series of 25 workshops and other easy-to-use tools and helpful resources online by clicking here.

OnlineBy Phone
– You should file every week instead of every other week
– You will then get paid every week instead of every other week
– You no longer have to file by Friday each week
– Starting June 10, you can file weekly claims by phone. You will need to provide your SSN and PIN that you currently use to log into the UC system.
– Pennsylvania Teleclaims (PAT) Toll-free: 888-255-4728 or PAT Español: 877-888-8104

The previous 40-year-old system was reportedly riddled with issues getting unemployment benefits to Pennsylvanians during the pandemic.

“The pandemic stressed an already-antiquated IT platform and we look forward to improving the process so that out-of-work Pennsylvanians can focus their time and attention on finding a new job,” Berrier said.

On Friday, January 11, Acting Secretary Berrier went live to discuss the updates and changes to the new system. According to Berrier, as of Friday morning, 204,000 individuals have filed for weekly benefits using the new online system and more than 17,000 have filed initial claims. Plus, more than 25,000 individuals use the phone system to file weekly certifications, thus far.

All in all, more than 247,000 have filed for new or weekly claims since the start of the new system on Tuesday, June 8. According to Berrier, the system has issued a total of $115 million to 142,000 individuals who have filed.

“We have come a long way in just two days since the new system came online, and while we still have some work to do, we feel as though we’re in a good place with identifying our outstanding issues,” Berrier said.

The department is now continuing to work on reaching out to those individuals that have filed claims in the past before the system was in place. Plus, they are working to resolve issues they have seen since the start on Tuesday.

Such issues include an error some individuals received when attempting to create or log into a recently created Keystone ID. In response to a question, Berrier also pointed to the “work search” question some individuals had come face-to-face with, which asks them if they have engaged in work search activities in the prior week.

Berrier stressed that the department is aware of the issue and currently working to fix it. In the meantime, Berrier suggests not to answer the question, but to log out of the claim and wait to be notified that the issue was fixed. If an individual selects”no” when answering the question, they can be deemed ineligible for the benefits.

More updates are to come, please check back for more information.

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