With extra unemployment bonuses expiring, what can Pa. residents do to get help?

With extra unemployment bonuses expiring, what can Pa. residents do to get help?

The extra $600 unemployment payment is set to expire on Friday, and both the Democratic and Republican plans to extend those benefits failed.

So, what can people who have relied on those extra payments do for assistance?

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During its 10th town hall today, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor said it has added an extra hour for calls on the PUA line -- a direct result of it hiring more staff -- and it said it still needs more people.

“You’ll be able to reach us for an extra five hours each week. We’ve had more staff come on board, we’ve had them trained. And now that they’re hitting the ground running, they’re able to answer your questions,” said Susan Dickinson, director of the Office of Unemployment Compensation Benefits Policy.

That’s good news for the 1.9 million Pa. residents without a job right now.

The Pa. Department of Labor and Industry said it has paid out nearly $31 billion in unemployment checks since March 15. Saturday marked the last time unemployed Pennsylvanians will receive an extra $600, as the funds from the CARES Act have run out.

“Gov. Wolf and I and our agency have been urging Congress to extend that $600 weekly federal benefit to help our fellow citizens keep food on their table, pay their bills,” said W. Gerard Oleksiak, secretary of the department of labor and industry.

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Oleksiak said in the meantime, additional state resources are available, including:

  • Medicaid
  • Children’s health insurance
  • SNAP benefits
  • Low-income energy assistance program
  • Temporary assistance for needy families

The Department of Labor also addressed a recent hiccup in PUA payments, as an external vendor had an issue that caused later than normal payments. It has reportedly been resolved. What hasn’t is fraud.

“If someone had stolen your identity and set up a PUA claim in your name, what was happening was the fraudsters were giving us their direct deposit info and it was overriding your actual direct deposit,” Dickinson said.

If you haven’t gotten a check, look at the benefit inquiry section online to see if the payment was made, and if it has, officials said you should report it.

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