FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 30, 2020

 

L&I Offers Six Tips to Get Unemployment Compensation Benefits Quicker

Harrisburg, PA – With the historic surge in people seeking unemployment compensation (UC), Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today offered six tips to help Pennsylvanians more quickly receive the benefits they have earned and deserve.

“A little over a month ago, life changed drastically for all of us due to the difficult but necessary mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “I know this has been hard for businesses and workers, many of whom have never had to file for UC benefits before. We have made progress in meeting the historic demand for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania but know more must be done. I share your frustration and want to help you navigate our complex UC system more easily.”

Improving customer service

Since mid-March, nearly 1.7 million Pennsylvanians have filed for regular UC and new federal laws made big changes to increase payments for many people and made other workers eligible for those benefits for the first time.

Over $3.6 billion in benefits has been paid to claimants – nearly $2.7 billion from regular UC and $911 million from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program (extra $600 per week).

Before the pandemic, Pennsylvania had low unemployment with a near record number of people working and the UC office was appropriately staffed for those conditions.

Here are a few of the steps we’ve taken so far to improve customer service: 

Tips to Apply for UC

L&I is receiving extremely high daily call volumes and we know many people are struggling to reach our call centers. Many answers are available on our website. This will allow our staff to focus on people who do not have internet access, require translation services, or have an issue with a claim. 

Before calling the UC Service Center, L&I recommends the following:

  1. Review COVID-19-related FAQs – Answers to many of your UC questions are in the Frequently Asked Questions section of L&I’s website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter
     
  2. Check your claims status online – If you have your Personal Identification Number (PIN), enter it along with your Social Security number to check your claims status online here
     
  3. Know what to do if you haven’t received your debit card – If you haven’t received your U.S. Bank ReliaCard debit card, log into your UC account online and verify your mailing address. Debit cards are valid for three years,  if you already have a debit card from a previous claim, or reopen an existing claim, you will not receive a new debit card. You will continue to use the original debit card. If your card has been lost or stolen, call U.S. Bank at 888-233-5916. Contact the PA Treasury for basic information about the debit card or direct deposit questions at 877-869-1956. 
     
  4. Apply online now – Need to file a new claim and want to know if you’re eligible? Don’t delay by asking us. Submit your claim and let our staff determine your eligibility. 
     
  5. Wait at least three weeks before requesting a new PIN – If it’s been more than three weeks since you filed an initial claim and you haven’t yet received your PIN, you may request a new one here
     
  6. Other ways to reach us – If you have a genuine issue with your claim, there are several ways to contact UC staff. We have received nearly 1.7 million new claims in just six weeks, please know that others need our help too. You can also use:

Visit the commonwealth’s Responding to COVID-19 guide for the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Penny Ickes, dlipress@pa.gov

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