Pennsylvania extends pandemic assistance for unemployed workers

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As the federal pandemic assistance winds down at the end of this month, Pennsylvania officials have announced an extension for unemployed workers, and they are urging those facing desperate times reach out for state services.

The state is offering up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits for unemployed workers, on top of extra weeks provided by the federal government.

"If you are eligible for an extension, it happens automatically if you are still within your unemployment year," said Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak.

But if you went on unemployment sometime last year and have used up your federal money, you will have to apply, and the additional weeks don’t include the extra $600 cash which so many count on.

That’s where the Department of Human Services comes in.

"People in Pennsylvania and around the country may soon find themselves in extremely uncertain circumstances," said Secretary Teresa Miller. "Our public assistance network exists to help people during times, exactly like what we are currently facing."

Miller urged families stretching dollars to eat or get proper care to reach out for help.

"These programs help ensure people have access to healthcare, have enough food to eat, and are able to pay utility bills," she said, "things that we all need to be able to do."

The programs include SNAP, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Emergency Assistance.

"DHS is here to support Pennsylvanians as this public health crisis and period of economic insecurity evolve, and we are going to do everything we can to ensure that public assistance programs meet the needs of the people we serve," declared Miller.