FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2020
L&I Offers Six Tips to Get Unemployment
Compensation Benefits Quicker
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.”
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:
- Nearly 900
L&I staff working on the UC program are teleworking – with 500 of
these employees being reassigned from other agencies to help
experienced UC retirees have returned to work
- More than
250 new hires will bolster the system
110,000 calls handled by automated virtual phone assistant IBM Watson
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.
calling the UC Service Center, L&I recommends the
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
assistant – Call 877-978-1295 to have
our UC virtual assistant powered by Watson answer your frequently asked
questions any time, 24/7. Please note that this system does not
connect to our UC Customer Service Center staff and only provides virtual
– Call 888-313-7284 for a secure 6-digit LiveChat
code to reach UC staff Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
– For claims questions, email email@example.com and include your full name
as it appears on your claim (including suffix used) and the last four
digits of your Social Security number. Get email wait response times here. We respond to emails in the order
we receive them, so sending duplicates will not result in a quicker
response and will actually cause delays for everyone.
contact form – To make a general comment on
UC services, or if you have questions not covered by information on www.uc.pa.gov, use this form.
Teleclaims (PAT) –
This automated self-service system can be used
to file biweekly UC claims, access specific benefit payment information,
or learn about UC without needing to talk to a person. You can also use
PAT to request/change federal withholding tax, get UC-1099G information,
and change your PIN. For English, call 888-255-4728. For Spanish, call
Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing –
Call 888-334-4046 Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
service for ASL users – Call 717-704-8474 Wednesdays
from Noon to 4:00 PM. Sign language is the ONLY means of communication provided
at this number.
YOU HAVE TRIED OTHER METHODS TO FIND YOUR ANSWER WITHOUT SUCCESS, try the
UC Service Call Center phone – Call
888-313-7284 Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM to reach UC
staff. The best time to try calling the UC service center is Thursdays and
Fridays. Be prepared for heavy call volumes, busy signals, and potential
delays in getting through.
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.
CONTACT: Penny Ickes, firstname.lastname@example.org