Pa. Labor Department admits it has long way to go to catch up with backlog of unemployment compensation claims

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry admits it has a long way to go to catch up with a huge backlog of claims from people who’ve been waiting since the end of December for their unemployment compensation.

Since reopening the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program last Friday and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program on Sunday, acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier said they’ve been busy sending out tens of thousands of payments and processing claims while being inundated with all kinds of complaints.

For instance, PEUC applicants were only given the option of filing for the current week, an issue she said they've now resolved.

“PEUC claimants should now be able to file for all four claim weeks, which are Jan. 2, Jan. 9, Jan. 16, and Jan. 23,” she said.

And she admits that customer service needs to improve.

“We are continuing to hire folks to address our telephone issues and email  accounts and we still continue to move forward with our benefits modernization project and that will basically replace our outdated mainframe system,” she added.

Berrier also said there’s been some miscommunication about the Jan. 29 deadline to file for PUA, assuring applicants that all back wages will be paid.