Expect unemployment claims delays when Pa. updates it computer system

Written by on May 7, 2021

 Expect unemployment claims delays when Pa. updates it computer system

By Kate Giammarise / WESA

May 6, 2021

Cornell Brunson describes the difficulties he had trying to collect Unemployment Compensation benefits. He was speaking May 6, 2021 at a rally outside of Gov. Tom Wolf’s regional office in Pittsburgh. Photo | Kate Giammarise / WESA

Pennsylvanians will not be able to file unemployment claims when the state upgrades its computer system, starting later this month. 

Listen to the story.

Advocates say the blackout on filing claims is one reason the state should delay its switch to a new computer system.

Sharon Dietrich, a litigation director at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia

says waiting until September, when fewer people will be out of work, will prevent problems.

“The higher the number of people that are on the caseload, the higher the number of people that are going to have problems, the more strain that will be on the department and on the system to resolve those problems,” Dietrich says, “The more people on the system at the time this goes live, the more hardship.” 

Frustrations with the system have also driven several protests in recent weeks. 

Advocates point to a large backlog of several hundred thousand unpaid claims and difficulty reaching the department via phone.

State officials say the upgrade will make the system easier to use.

Officials say during the upgrade, the system must be taken offline starting May 30. People will not be able to file claims during that period. 

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate is 7.3%.

For more information visit the Unemployment Compensation website.

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