100,000 Pennsylvanians without Emergency Unemployment Compensation Urged to Continue Filing Claims Until Congress Takes Action

Jun 24, 2010, 17:43 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The recent expiration of federal emergency unemployment benefits has left 100,000 Pennsylvanians without weekly Unemployment Compensation, according to the state Department of Labor & Industry.

"The commonwealth cannot pay benefits to these individuals until Congress passes legislation to extend the program," Labor & Industry Secretary Sandi Vito said today.

"The U.S. Senate's inaction is causing hardship for residents as they struggle to find jobs in a slowly recovering economy. The problem is compounded because the high volume of calls to our UC Service Centers is making it difficult for individuals filing new claims for unemployment compensation to receive the services they need to make their initial claim," Vito said.

Claimants who are not receiving benefits are asked to refrain from contacting the call centers, but should continue to file their claims online and using the PA Teleclaims system at 1-888-255-4728. Emergency benefit claimants should continue to file their weekly claims using the paper mail claim process.

"In the absence of action by Congress, claimants should continue to file their claims for Emergency Unemployment Compensation and state Extended Benefits (paper forms) as they have been," Vito said. "While this does not guarantee payment for the weeks filed, it will allow for faster processing if the federal legislation is enacted." 

Until the U.S. Senate acts on legislation to restore the emergency benefits, the unemployment system cannot issue emergency or extended benefits compensation payments. HR 4213 passed the U.S. House in late May, but has languished in the U.S. Senate since then.

"We know people are frustrated and worried, but our call center staff simply cannot answer questions about when Congress will take action. We are asking people who are curious about emergency benefits to help us – and others -- by freeing up phone lines to make it easier on callers who are trying to file new claims.  

"Individuals having difficulty filling an initial claim through the Internet or the Service Center can also fill out a benefit application in person at any of our 67 PA CareerLink® locations," Vito said. "Claimants being affected by the interruption of benefits are urged to visit their local PA CareerLink®, and to take advantage of the variety of career, training and education services available.

"Pennsylvania has a number of ongoing initiatives that help unemployed workers, such as the Way to Work employment program and HereToHelp.pa.gov – an online single point of contact for vital programs and services available in the state."

Information about unemployment compensation programs is available at www.uc.pa.gov, while about reemployment services is available at pacareerlink.state.pa.us.

Media contact: Troy Thompson, 717-787-7530

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry