Tag Archives: PA unemployment compensation

The Jobless Can’t Reach to State Call Centers

People who have a problem with unemployment benefits get endless busy signal.

The state’s call center for PA unemployment benefits in downtown Allentown is not set up to assist the unemployed, but most days some will turn up anxious for answers after receiving a non-stop busy signal when they try calling.

An employee of the call center memorized one woman who claimed she had pressed  redial 137 times before she even got the automatic answering service that inform you how long your wait will be. That wait for her was 2 hours and 40 minutes.

The call center employee said, “It’s bad, it is really bad”. Allentown’s call center on Hamilton Street is one of seven in Pennsylvania. The state stopped an eighth call center in Philadelphia in August and jobless 78 workers in response to a loss of federal unemployment benefits.

Presently, the state has 520 employees to receive calls and handle calls for the 525,000 laid-offs as per Sara Gourlet, spokeswoman for the state Department of Labor & Industry. Of those unemployed 275,000 are collecting benefits.

Gourlet started inspecting into this after a neighbor told her he had been trying for days to reach someone in an unemployment office who could tell him how to resolve a problem with his claim.

He strived hard to fix the problem online at the Labor department website but there’s no selection available for his specific issue. “I tried calling 30 or 40 times,” he said. “You can never get through.”

After hearing number of similar stories, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia had a paralegal do an 11-day experiment to observe how long it would take her every day to expend on the toll-free-number.

For instance, on Aug 28, 2012, the paralegal got 37 consecutive busy signals and stopped trying after two hours. On Sept.5, she got 78 repeated busy signals after four hours. The least amount of time it took her over 11 days to get in touch with a live person was 29 minutes.

According to Sharon Dietrich, managing partner of Community Legal Services, the logjam has left many of her agency’s clients in terrible crisis. “It’s true all over the state,” she said. “A lot of my clients are using cell phones and they have limits on their cell phone minutes. We have some people who come to our office just to use a phone to call.”

Dietrich said she recognizes that the state is attempting to do more with less. But layoffs at call centers and cuts in the hours the jobless can get help –now a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday – restricting people who are seeking work.

She said, “I don’t think you can run a system where people can’t access the system.”

In brief, there aren’t sufficient people employed in trying to help the laid offs find the way to unemployment system.

According to Gourlet, the curbs have come in response to a $30 million drop in funds the state obtains from the U.S. government to manage unemployment compensation. As the state unemployment rate has dipped, together with the number of people filing for PA Unemployment benefits, so has the federal money for administration.

Gourlet recommended that the unemployed can call from the CareerLink Union Boulvard, which has a phone line with better chances of getting through to staff at the call centers.

The call center employee has also told Gourlet that the staffs are under guidelines to stay on the line when a call comes from a CarrerLink so the phone can be passed from one jobless person to another to another.

Gourlet, who said the state plans to include more temporary call center workers, said callers sometimes have shorter waits calling later in the day and later in the week. Other unemployed people have had some success calling their legislator to mediate.

Keep in mind; the Legislature previous year passed a law that in order to collect benefits, the laid offs must now be able to prove they have applied for three jobs per week as well as signed up for employment search services with the Pennsylvania CareerLink.

So how can we anticipate people to do a full-time job search if they have to use up business hours redialing when they have a question about their checks?

How to Contact PA Unemployment Office

During the application time for jobless benefits, you may need to make contact with your local office quite a few times. This can be in response to a request for extra paperwork, as you have a simple question or because you have not been obtaining the promised benefits.

Watch this video which has vital information on contacting PA unemployment office –

What method of contact is better depends mostly on your reason for contacting it.

Unemployment compensation (UC) services are offered by telephone through local call centers and online. You may call the Unemployment compensation service center at 888-313-7284. A listing of local phone numbers, mailing addresses and fax numbers for the UC service centers is obtainable on the state map of services near you.

Select any county from the record and scroll down to: UC Benefit Services.

Be all set for long waits as lots of people attempt to do the same thing that you are. Remain patient and you will get through to someone who can assist you. Even if it’s annoying to wait so long, be polite to the person you get connected to and you will get a lot more assistance than if you are rude.

Whenever you call the PA unemployment phone number, ensure you have Social Security number, dates of employment and a paper to take down relevant notes.

UC Service Centers

In case you have filed an application for UC benefits within the last year, and have a specific question about your claim or your eligibility, call the UC service center.

Local and Toll-Free Service Center Phone Numbers:

UC Service Center Statewide Toll-Free Number 888-313-7284
TTY Services for Deaf andHard-of-Hearing Toll-Free 888-334-4046
Videophone Service for ASL Users-Wednesdays, noon-4 p.m. 717-704-8474
Allentown 610-821-6735
Altoona 814-946-7224
Duquesne 412-267-1315
Erie 814-871-4311
Indiana 724-599-1250
Lancaster 717-299-7711
Scranton 570-565-3048

Every UC service center is open from 8:a.m to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Mondays are usually a heavy call day. Individuals who wish to apply or claim UC benefits are encourages filing online or calling the UC service center later in the day and later in the week, preferably, when call volume is lighter.

In times of high call volume, a call back system may be in place. If you would like a return call, you must enter your Social Security number along with the telephone number where you can be reached. Calls are returned from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The UC service center telephone system uses line blocking or caller ID block.

Callers who have unidentified call rejection activated on their telephone must disable this service to get calls from the UC service center.

By making a choice on the area map, you can obtain a list of these offices and other services available in your area.

If you have not filed an application for UC benefits within the past year, and have common questions about UC or questions about your UC-1099G (Statement for Recipients of PA UC Payments) provided for income tax purposes, call 717-783-3140 to (TTY for deaf or hard of hearing at 800-577-7216) the service center Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pennsylvania Teleclaims-PAT Directory

Pennsylvania Teleclaims, or PAT, is an automatic self-service system employed by persons with access to a touch-tone telephone to

  • file biweekly UC claims
  • access specific benefit payment information
  • learn about the commonwealth’s UC program, without the involvement of an agent.

These services are accessible on Sunday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

PAT Local and Toll-Free Numbers:

PAT Toll-free 888-255-4728
PAT Toll-free TTY 800-778-4728
Español- PAT 877-888-8104
Allentown 610-821-6659
Altoona 814-941-6849
Duquesne 412-267-1494
Erie 814-878-5700
Indiana 724-599-1004
Lancaster 717-299-7560
ScrantonScranton TTY 570-562-4800570-562-4871
HarrisburgHarrisburg en Espanol 717-231-4055717-231-405