Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) on Wednesday told state representatives the commonwealth’s unemployment-claim (UC) backlog remains vast at 31,304 cases.
L&I officials testifying at a hearing of the state House Appropriations Committee in preparation for next fiscal year’s budget also said state residents calling the department regarding UC claims face an average wait time of 67 minutes. Acting L&I Secretary Nancy Walker said her agency is making progress in clearing these cases which reportedly numbered more than 35,000 last month. Such cases began to accumulate over the course of the coronavirus outbreak.
Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry and the Office of Administration discussed ongoing fraud and other issues in the commonwealth’s unemployment system Thursday during a House hearing.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Labor & Industry Jennifer Berrier told the House Labor and Industry Committee that “overall the (unemployment compensation) system is in a good place,” but acknowledged a raft of ongoing issues, from hundreds of millions of dollars stolen through fraud to large backlogs of unresolved claims and fraud cases.
Berrier said the unemployment compensation system has processed more than 611,000 claims since the modernized system went live in June, paying out about $3.4 billion in benefits. During the height of the pandemic, the department faced a backlog of 300,000 nonmonetary determinations, or those involving eligibility, that since has been whittled down to 95,000, she said.