L&I attempting to address new UC system issues, concerns

    Pennsylvania acting Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier speaks a March 2, 2021 budget hearing. (Pa. House feed)

    Just two days after the state Department of Labor & Industry launched its revamped unemployment compensation system that was intended as an upgrade to the outdated, complaint-riddled previous system, state officials say they are still working out the bugs. 

    In a briefing with reporters Thursday, Acting Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier said the department was “continuing to make improvements” to the new system.

    “We have come a long way in just two days since the new system first came online,” Berrier said, noting that 164,000 people have submitted claims using the new system since it’s debut earlier this week. 

    Pa. debuts new unemployment compensation system

    Berrier said the department is still working to resolve technical issues such as login issues, incorrect payment methods listed and other issues, adding that she understood claimant’s frustrations. 

    “We are just as frustrated,” Berrier said. “That’s why it was really important for us to move to this new system.”

    Berried asked for claimants to be patient as the issues are addressed and to report issues to the department. 

    She noted that the SurveyMonkey poll on the website is being reviewed in real-time and that it has been a useful tool in identifying and addressing issues. 

    “We will continue to do that until we resolve all the issues,” Berrier said. 

    In addition to discussing the upgrades to the unemployment compensations system, Berrier announced a new version of the Pennsylvania Teleclaims system (PAT), which allows individuals to file for unemployment benefits by phone, is now online. PAT, replacing a different file-by-phone system.

    Individuals will need the following when calling PAT to file a weekly or biweekly claim for benefits:

    • Access to a touch-tone telephone or a push button telephone with a tone-pulse switch;
    • Their Social Security number;
    • Their PIN;
    • A pen and paper to note important information.

    Berrier noted that claimants should be aware that PAT will notify them during the filing process if an issue exists on their claim. The department said claimants with issues on their claims can contact the UC Service Center.

    As of 10:15 a.m. Thursday, the department said more than 9,100 individuals used the new PAT system to call in their claims.

    Cassie Miller
    A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.