Secretary of Labor and Industry Update on Unemployment Benefits at Town Hall

Written by on May 29, 2020

Secretary of Labor and Industry Update on Unemployment Benefits at Town Hall

By Brad Klein

May 29, 2020

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The PA Department of Labor and Industry — which handles unemployment compensation — held a virtual town hall Thursday, May 28, fielding calls from about a dozen of the over two million Pennsylvania residents who have claimed unemployment benefits since the state lockdown. WLVR’s Brad Klein listened in.  

Secretary Jerry Oleksiak opened the virtual gathering with an update on the state of the State’s Labor department. 

“As you are well aware, this is an unprecedented situation that we are dealing with – historic, it’s been an avalanche … challenging … whatever adjectives words you want to use to describe it,” said Oleksiak.

He says there were one million claims in the first three weeks after pandemic mitigation efforts began March 15. 

Questions from participants ranged from waiting for claims to be processed to dealing with potential overpayments. 

Oleksiak says with a staff suited for the very low unemployment pre-pandemic, the agency struggled to process standard claims plus the elements of the CARES act – but has since made progress. 

“Since mid March, since those mitigation efforts began, we have been able to pay out a total of close to 11 billion with a B in benefits…representing over 2.3 million claims. “

Secretary Jerry Oleksiak says the system is working much better than it was eight weeks ago.


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