By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
Due to the closure of three Unemployment Compensation (UC) service centers – here in Lancaster, Allentown and Altoona – there is now a shortage of staff to answer statewide calls and to help residents with their claims. These closings have caused extremely long wait times for countless Commonwealth residents calling for assistance.
The Wolf administration has acknowledged awareness of these unprecedented backlogs, and the House Labor & Industry Committee, of which I am a member, held a hearing this week with Labor & Industry Secretary Kathy Manderino to see how we can work together to address this issue.
Here are some steps the administration is now encouraging UC claimants, in some instances, to take in an effort to receive faster service.
Residents are asked to go online to uc.pa.gov for assistance. From the website, residents can:
• File an initial claim.
• File a bi-weekly claim.
• Check the status of a claim.
• Find out when a payment will be issued.
• Start, change or stop direct deposit.
• Find out the remaining balance of benefits.
*Unless you are filing an initial claim, you will need your Social Security number and UC assigned PIN, which can be found on your Claim Confirmation letter.
If you no longer wish to continue to file for unemployment benefits (for example, because you have become fully employed), simply stop filing your bi-weekly claim. If you then become unemployed again before your claim has expired, please reopen your claim on the UC website.
You need to call the UC service center if you:
• Lose your UC PIN or never received one in the mail.
• Filed online or through the PAT system and the system tells you to call in.
• Need to report a new employer while continuing your current claim.
*If you didn’t receive a debit card or are having any issues related to your debit card, please call ReliaCard at 1-888-233-5916.
One more important note: The state’s 61 CareerLink locations offer free internet access to file unemployment claims and each has a phone dedicated for claimants to use to call the service centers; however, long lines at the CareerLink offices have caused frustration and hours-long wait times to use the phone.
Residents are asked to first try going online, and if a call must be made into a service center, then it is advised to do so on– Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Be aware that claimants are reporting long response times as the General Assembly attempts to work with the administration to resolve this matter.
Should you still require assistance, my office and staff are here to help. Visit RepMenter.com
to send an email, or call my district office at (717) 626-1776.