Pa. prepares for end of federal unemployment compensation program

Written by on August 31, 2021

Pa. prepares for end of federal unemployment compensation program

By Hayden Mitman

August 31, 2021

A “Now Hiring” sign is displayed on a business window, Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Salem, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Federal unemployment and pandemic benefit programs are set to end on Saturday, Sept. 4. 

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This would include the $300 per week of additional unemployment benefits, enacted back in December.

These programs had supported more than 550,000 unemployed Pennsylvanians throughout the pandemic. 

But Inez Titus, secretary for the state Department of Human Services’ Office of Income Maintenance, said Pennsylvania is prepared.

“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,” she said. 

The state can help pay rent and utilities as well as provide food for those in need. 

Jennifer Berrier, secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry, said the state is ready to focus on other issues that affect the job market like lack of childcare or job training.

“While the federal unemployment benefits did a great job serving as a catch-all safety net, we are now ready to return to a state where we address these hurdles with more specific assistance,” she said.

 She also said that new unemployment claims have dropped dramatically.

“Unemployment compensation claims, filed on average over the past few weeks, are lower than our pre-pandemic rates,” Berrier said.

Berrier said there are existing state programs to help support those who will lose federal unemployment funding.

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