Labor & Industry Secretary: Political Posturing in the U.S. Senate Should Not Determine Livelihood of More Than 429,000 Pennsylvanians Depending on UC Benefits to Survive While Economy Recovers

Jun 21, 2010, 12:11 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

More than 200,000 Pennsylvanians Could Lose Benefits in June, July

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Labor & Industry Secretary Sandi Vito today expressed dismay with the recent political posturing in Washington regarding House Resolution 4213 – the Tax Extenders Bill – and the calamitous effect the delay could have on more than 429,000 Pennsylvanians this year.

"It is truly disappointing that partisan politics have superseded the need to do the right thing for our citizens," Vito said. "In June and July, more than 200,000 Pennsylvanians who lost their jobs through no fault of their own will be left without the unemployment benefits many of them need to survive. Every day this continues to drag on is another day of uncertainty that they should not be forced to endure."

However, Vito did praise U.S. Senator Bob Casey and U.S. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania for their continued support of this bill and their understanding of its importance to unemployed workers in the commonwealth. HR 4213 passed the U.S. House in late May, and since that time, has languished in the U.S. Senate.

Without immediate action on this legislation, more than 111,000 Pennsylvanians are being left without benefits in June, with another 94,000 affected in July. By the end of the year, an estimated 429,000 people would lose benefits if no action is taken.

"Despite the fact our recovery efforts are showing progress, there are still five workers for every job opening," Vito said. "It is too soon to eliminate unemployment program extensions."

Emergency unemployment compensation and other Recovery Act provisions expired June 2. However, Pennsylvanians should continue to file their claims for Emergency Unemployment Compensation and state Extended Benefits (paper forms) as they have been. Some claimants may have weeks of eligibility remaining when the federal programs expired. While this does not guarantee payment for the weeks filed, it will allow for faster processing based on the guidance of the final legislation if it is enacted.

"Our unemployed residents should be able to use their time looking for employment without the added stress of wondering where their next meal will come from or how they will be able to keep their lights on."

Information about unemployment compensation programs is available at

Media contact: Troy Thompson, 717-787-7530

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry