PITTSBURGH — The state might have a new unemployment system, but they are still having issues after rolling it out earlier this week. Also, starting Thursday, they have added a new phone system to help those people who cannot get online to file.
As of Thursday morning, 168,000 people had successfully filed claims using the new system and were seeing payments within a day or two, according to Labor & Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier.
“It means that the Pennsylvania Treasury is receiving our payment files and getting payments made to eligible claimants,” Berrier said during a media briefing Thursday morning. “And we did see that people who had previously selected to receive their payment through direct deposit received it through this method; even if they are seeing the debit selected on the new system as their preferred payment choice, payments will continue to be made.”
The new phone system allowing people to file for benefits is now up and running.
It is known as the Pennsylvania Teleclaims System, or PAT, and this phone system is different from the UC Service Centers.
Many people are reporting on the department’s Facebook page and groups that they are having issues filing with the new system. Tammy Korczynski is one of those people.
“I got an error and it kicked me out straight back to the main screen and I can’t log back in,” said Tammy Korczynski. “Very frustrating and yesterday the anxiety was extremely high.”
Korczynski said her problems started before the switchover, but were continuing despite trying all the new avenues suggested by the department with the new system.
She was not alone, as thousands of people made similar comments during the press briefing which was live-streamed.
“We hear your frustration and we understand,” said Berrier when directly asked about the ongoing issues. “We are just as frustrated and really important to move to a new computer system. We continue to monitor SurveyMonkey results and monitor social media.”
Berrier added this new computer will let them quickly interact with people. But people need to be patient right now as officials work out the kinks. Officials suggest checking out their enhancement tracker which shows major issues impacting many people; like those on the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) Program unable to file due to being listed as inactive.
But for people like Korczynski who have two children at home, she continues to move forward as she waits for help.
“I am getting ready to start work, just a matter of paperwork,” said Korczynski. “I’ll probably have a paycheck from them before I hear anything from Unemployment.”
A big change many people do not realize about the new unemployment system, is that you can file anytime during the next eight weeks to backdate a claim if you are missing payments right now.