Department of Labor & Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier said Pennsylvanians will have a much quicker and easier time filing claims for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits when the department’s new UC system launches on June 8, 2021.
“The new system will be easy to use, provide access to important information, and streamline the unemployment claim filing process for workers, employers, unemployment program staff, and third-party administrators,” said Berrier. “The pandemic stressed an already-antiquated IT platform and we look forward to improving the process so that out-of-work Pennsylvanians can focus their time and attention on finding a new job.”
Programs that will transition to the new system are:
- Unemployment Compensation (UC);
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC);
- Extended Benefits (EB);
- Shared Work or Short-Time Compensation (STC); and
- Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA).
The new UC system will have a different look and feel than the current system and is better aligned with the user interface of modern websites, making it more intuitive to use. It will also provide access to more information and self-serve options and reduce the need for claimants to contact the UC service center.
“Our goal is to modernize the overall process and make it easier for Pennsylvanians who file unemployment claims to receive the payments to which they are entitled,” continued Berrier. “The hardworking team at L&I is committed to resolving issues as they arise and helping Pennsylvanians who need our services.”
Helping Users Prepare
L&I will provide user guides and hold live workshops with UC experts to assist individuals with learning how to use the new system before its implementation. Announcements will be made in the coming weeks regarding the dates of the workshops and how to access them. L&I is also in the process of hiring and training an additional 500 to 1,000 customer service representatives and 180 interviewers to help Pennsylvanians with their questions and claims.
New System Features
Individuals currently filing for benefits through one of the above-listed programs will need to use the new UC system to file their weekly or biweekly claims. Additional features of the new system include:
- Filing a new or reopened claim;
- Accessing information about a claim;
- Filing an appeal;
- Checking the status of a payment;
- Using a dashboard to receive important messages from UC staff; and
- Changing options such as whether communication is sent electronically or by physical mail, and whether federal income tax is withheld.
The new UC system will provide employers with the ability to receive important information and notices via their dashboard and additional self-service options for managing their benefit information. While the current system provides notices of separations, appeal hearing dates, and UC correspondence only on paper, the new system will allow employers to view this information in real-time. This will provide greater oversight, faster response time, and better communication regarding changes in an employer’s information.
During the transition, the claims system will need to be taken offline for all users for a period of approximately two weeks. L&I will be providing regular updates and information about this and other changes.