Pa. debuts new unemployment compensation system

    The Department of Labor and Industry's unemployment webpage.

    A long overdue upgrade to Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation system debuted Tuesday, state officials confirmed. 

    “Today, Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation system took a giant leap forward not just in terms of technology, but in the quality of service we are able to provide,” Acting Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier said in a statement. “L&I staff have been working hard to make the transition to this new system seamless for users. As we see users logging on and successfully filing their claims in this faster and easier-to-use system, we are thrilled to see our vision of a modern, intuitive unemployment system has finally come to fruition.” 

    Calling the 40-year-old system “archaic,” the department said the new system’s soft launch occurred just after 3 a.m. Tuesday morning. 

    For more than a decade, advocates have called on state officials to address the antiquated system, which had long delays for claimants, and required extra programs for claims from individuals with six-figure incomes. 

    When the department announced the upgrade in April, it also dropped a bombshell on many unemployment recipients: the system would be down while the department made the transition, making it impossible for Pennsylvanians to collect unemployment benefits over the two-week-long transition period. 

    Pa. unemployment system to undergo long sought upgrade in June, though concerns linger

    As of 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday, more than 41,000 individuals had filed unemployment claims using the new system, the department said. 

    However, the system already is experiencing difficulties, including login, payment and server connectivity issues.

    When the Capital-Star attempted to visit the new site  it did not load several times, before sluggishly getting through. 

    “While we have seen success with the system so far, we are continuing to monitor it and have staff ready to identify and resolve any issues that might arise,” Berrier said in a statement. “We will continue to update the public regularly as adjustments and improvements are made to our new unemployment system.” 

    Tutorials and workshops are available to help individuals transition to the new system. 

    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.