Help Available as Federal Unemployment Benefits End Saturday

Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer BerrierDepartment of Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier (Credit: Commonwealth Media Services)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With federal unemployment benefits ending for 558,000 Pennsylvanians on Saturday, Sept. 4, other support programs are available to provide help, announced Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier and  Department of Human Services (DHS) Deputy Secretary for the Office of Income Maintenance Inez Titus during a press conference this week.

This is the final week for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) programs. Those eligible will file for the final week of benefits through these federal, pandemic-specific programs during the week ending Sept. 11. The additional $300 per week provided by the federal government for those in the state’s regular Unemployment Compensation (UC) will also end.

“Many families, through no fault of their own, have seen their incomes decreased or lost entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Titus.

“While the federal unemployment programs may be ending, anyone who is still struggling to make ends meet or needs assistance should know that help is available.”

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“DHS will not stop providing access to health care, rental assistance, food, and other essential needs to those who need them. There is no shame in asking for help when we need it, so I encourage anybody who might be struggling to reach out and apply for and take advantage of these services. DHS is here to help people pay their bills and stabilize their housing situation as we work to emerge from this unprecedented crisis.”

Resources offered through DHS include:

  • The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP);
  • Medicaid;
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP);
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); and,
  • Child Care Works (CCW) subsidized child care.

Applications for ERAP, Medicaid, SNAP, and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us. SNAP and Medical Assistance applications can also be submitted over the phone by calling 1-866-550-4355. On-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are now available if clients cannot access online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, the myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling the Customer Service Centers at 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia clients or 1-877-395-8930 for clients in all other counties.

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Pennsylvanians who need health insurance who do not qualify for Medicaid can explore coverage options through Pennie, the commonwealth’s health insurance exchange. Pennsylvanians can learn more at www.pennie.com.

“We have been partnering with the Department of Human Services and other organizations to build a library of resources that includes food, housing, and utility support,” said Secretary Berrier. “We’ve been working to get this list into the hands of the individuals who will no longer be eligible to receive unemployment benefits next week when the special pandemic provisions through the federal government come to an end.”

Regular UC is not affected by the federal program end, but claimants should be aware that their weekly payments will be reduced by up to $300 due to the end of the FPUC program, and the number of weeks of eligibility for UC will be limited to 26 after the end of the federal PEUC extension program.

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Weeks of unemployment after Sept. 4, 2021, are not eligible for payments under these programs. Individuals who continue to be unemployed after Sept. 4 and are not eligible for payments under UC will no longer receive unemployment benefit payments. These individuals are encouraged to review the list of resources at uc.pa.gov/COVID19resources.

L&I urges individuals currently enrolled in unemployment programs to take advantage of free jobseeker services offered through PA CareerLink®. These services include access to a free job database, resume assistance, information about reskilling opportunities, and more. To schedule an appointment, please contact your local PA CareerLink® office. Find your county’s contact information by visiting www.pacareerlink.pa.gov.

More information about food assistance resources can be found at www.agriculture.pa.gov/foodsecurity.

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