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Politics & Government

New Unemployment Claim System Launches In Pennsylvania, But Not Without Complaints

unemployment rally employment compensation jobless jobs.JPG
Katie Blackley
/
90.5 WESA
A demonstrator holds up a sign about unemployment compensation at a rally downtown on March 10, 2021.

Pennsylvania’s new unemployment claims system launched June 8, replacing a 40-year-old infrastructure.

The state’s Department of Labor and Industry says the update will be faster and easier to use for those collecting unemployment but the launch did not go off without issue.

The agency’s Facebook page lit up with more than 1,000 complaints hours after the new system debuted.

Many posted that they were unable to file claims, others said this was another hurdle after not being able to collect for months.

The department’s Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier says though there were some hiccups, the launch was a success.

“We were able to serve, as of 1 p.m., 62,000 Pennsylvanians, which is a quarter of all of our UC and PEUC claimants.”

The department is facing a backlog of about 100,000 unemployment claims and another 200,000 in pandemic emergency claims. Berrier says this new portal will help address that.

“It will give us the ability to more quickly process adjudications. We’re very hopeful it will help us resolve disputes,” Berrier says.

The department has hired nearly 500 new staff members, she says, in order to support claimants during this transition.

“The amount of people who have accessed the system today,” she says, “Is the same amount that would have used the mainframe in a week, pre-pandemic.”

Read more from our partners, WLVR.