(WTAJ) — The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry is working through its 44-day email backlog as Pennsylvanians continue to ask why they haven’t received their unemployment benefits.
For regular unemployment benefits, about 74% of applicants have received their payments. Through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, it’s about 90% of people.
Since mid-march, $8.8B has been distributed in UC benefits to PA residents.
“We are facing an avalanche, as I’ve heard it described by some, of claims,” Department Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said.
There are three main programs for those seeking UC benefits:
- Regular UC;
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA )for small business owners or others who are not eligible for regular UC;
- And Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides up to 13 weeks of benefits to those who have previously collected regular UC, but exhausted those benefits.
“There’s room for only so many claims that are active at once, and if a person had many claims then that person may not have gotten their PEUC right away because the system’s full. we need to create room before we can create new claim, ” Susan Dickinson, Unemployment Compensation Benefits Policy Director, said.
There are some things Dickinson suggested people should check over before submitting their application.
These are easy mistakes that could make it harder to get paid, such as putting a nickname instead of your full, legal name or choosing the incorrect separation information.
“Putting your first name last and your last name first. That’s the biggest error we see in identification issues,” Dickinson said.
The department is taking about 20,000 calls a week.
If people are not sure if they can file their weekly or bi-weekly claim, Dickinson suggested logging into their account once a week to check and see if they’re eligible to file.