– More than one out of every four Pennsylvanians has applied for unemployment compensation benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, and nearly one out of every 10 eligible applicants still has not received benefits. With so many eligible Pennsylvanians still waiting for relief from a system they paid into for years, House Labor and Industry Committee Chairman Jim Cox (R-Berks/Lancaster) plans to hold a hearing in Harrisburg on Aug. 12 to get some answers.
“The people who struggled to get their benefits and the people still struggling to get assistance deserve some answers,” Cox said. “These hard-working Pennsylvanians paid into the system for years and, when they finally needed a little help, the system in many ways failed them.”
Cox said he and other members of the House Labor and Industry Committee repeatedly heard from constituents about problems they experienced with the unemployment compensation system. At various points throughout the process, residents told Cox the application website crashed, they were stuck on the phone for hours without being able to speak to a human being, and their bills were piling up as they waited for the system to deliver the benefits they were promised.
Cox said the committee is inviting representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry as well as the Pennsylvania Office of the State Treasurer to participate in the hearing, provide information and answer questions.
“We want to give the people who run these programs an opportunity to explain what is going on and why so many Pennsylvanians are still waiting for help,” Cox said.
Approximately 3.3 million Pennsylvanians have applied for some form of unemployment compensation during the pandemic. That amounts to more than one out of every four of the 12.8 million men, women and children in the Commonwealth.
Some of them applied for traditional unemployment compensation system benefits, while others applied for the benefits made available through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that was created to distribute benefits provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
According to the Office of Unemployment Compensation website – UC.Pa.Gov/COVID-19/Statistics
– “90.2% of eligible claimants who filed for benefits between March 15 and May 23, and filed for continued claims, received payments as of today, June 29.” That leaves 9.8% - or nearly one out of every 10 applicants – who still has not received payment.
“Pennsylvanians deserve information and answers from the men and women who are responsible for operating these programs and distributing benefit payments,” Cox said. “This hearing is about giving the people who administer these programs a microphone and a forum to explain why so many workers are still waiting to receive their benefits.”
The House Labor and Industry Committee informational hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12, and will be held in room G-50 of the Irvis Office Building in Harrisburg.
Representative Jim Cox
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Daniel Massing