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PA Couldn’t Process Unemployment For 4 Days, Now 2,500 People May Get Late Checks

Matt Rourke
In this June 23, 2014, file photo, a recruiter, at left, takes the resume of an applicant during a job fair, in Philadelphia.

For almost four entire days last week, the computer system Pennsylvania uses to process unemployment compensation crashed, making it impossible for people to file continuing claims.

That means a couple thousand people are likely getting their payments late.

The system went down early last Thursday, and stayed more or less out of commission until Sunday night.

In an email, Department of Labor and Industry spokeswoman Lindsay Bracale said people could still file initial unemployment claims during the outage. However, it was impossible to submit continuing ones—either by phone or online.

That means an estimated 2,500 people weren’t able to file their claims on time and may get their state payments late.

Governor Tom Wolf acknowledged, that’s a real issue for unemployed people who might be living check to check. He said he’s not sure if the state can compensate them.

“We’re trying to make it right,” he said. “I mean, it was our fault.”

Labor and Industry staff couldn’t say exactly what caused the issue, but Bracale noted that the UC system runs on a 50-year-old mainframe that the state has repeatedly attempted to replace, without success.

Two years ago, the state Auditor General released a report saying the project—which started in 2006 under a previous administration—had been badly mishandled.

A new attempt to modernize the UC system is underway. Bracale reported that it’s in the design phase.