HARRISBURG, PA — Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier on Friday provided updates on Pennsylvania’s new Unemployment Compensation (UC) system, which more than 247,000 individuals have used to successfully file claims since it was launched Tuesday. Nearly $115 million in payments have been issued by L&I for these claims.
“We have come a long way in just two days since the new system came online, and while we still have some work to do, we feel as though we’re in a good place with identifying our outstanding issues,” said Acting Secretary Berrier. “We’ll be continuing to work tirelessly until we get everything we want accomplished with this new system – and that means not just paying everyone who is eligible but adding in all of the bells and whistles that we want to ensure that Pennsylvania has the best, easiest to use unemployment compensation system in the country.”
More than 204,000 individuals have successfully filed weekly certifications using the new online system at benefits.uc.pa.gov. An additional 17,000 individuals have opened new claims using the new system, bringing the total number of individuals who have successfully filed on benefits.uc.pa.gov to more than 221,000.
“We applaud the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry for the launch of their new UI (unemployment insurance) program,” said National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) Technology Director Lou Ansaldi, who has assisted multiple states with implementing similar projects. “The development and implementation of any UI benefits system is a complex and large undertaking, and especially for large states. The PA UI benefits modernization project, interrupted by the pandemic and the federally legislated new programs, has been successfully deployed, despite some early challenges. However, as with other large deployments, the state staff is rapidly remediating and stabilizing the system for the commonwealth’s citizens. The speed at which Pennsylvania has stood up its new system and made improvements is impressive, especially given the challenges created by the pandemic.”
Filing Weekly Benefits by Phone
Thursday, the Pennsylvania Teleclaims system (PAT) came online, allowing individuals to file weekly claims by phone. More than 25,000 individuals used this system to file weekly certifications so far.
Individuals who wish to file for benefits through the UC or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs can do so by calling 888-255-4728, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Unlike filing online, which requires a Keystone ID, individuals who file using PAT use their PIN (personal identification number) and Social Security number to identify themselves when claiming UC benefits. During the call, individuals will be asked to respond to a series of questions by dialing their phone.
Several changes were made in the system overnight, including one to resolve an issue that some individuals were experiencing when they tried to create or log into a recently created Keystone ID when entering the UC system. L&I has heard from individuals who previously encountered this issue that they are now able to successfully log in and file their claims. Individuals have the option of using a temporary workaround that allows them to first create the Keystone ID, then separately log into the new UC system, by following the process shown in this video.
Changes made overnight also resolved an issue that caused some PEUC claimants to see “inactive,” disqualified” or “monetary ineligible” statuses. L&I has heard from many individuals who experienced these issues that the statuses have disappeared, and individuals can successfully file; however, a few individuals have reported seeing these statuses since the change was made. L&I is actively investigating these cases to see why the individual is seeing these statuses.
As a reminder, the new system displays eligibility or other claim issues – this is a feature, not an error
Individuals with issue codes can reference this sheet to learn more about the issue and any possible action they can take to resolve them.
Individuals can view updates about the new UC system on the UC System Check Enhancement Tracker.
One new issue was added to the tracker: A question asking to verify the completion of work search requirements is now appearing to a limited number of individuals. L&I is investigating the cause of this and is prioritizing implementing a fix.
The waiting room has not come online since 9 a.m. Thursday, when it appeared briefly for individuals filing initial claims only and had a wait time of four minutes. Individuals took an average of 21 minutes to file an initial claim. Weekly certifications took 4 minutes on average.
24/7 Filing and Other Upgrades
Individuals are reminded that the new UC system offers the ability to file a UC claim 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Claim weeks run Sunday to Saturday, so the last time to file during the claim is 11:59 PM Saturday. Individuals are also being provided with up to 8 weeks to file for the current claim week, though individuals should note that their payments will not be issued until they file.
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