In a sternly worded letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) urged Secretary W. Gerard Oleksiak to get the unemployment compensation (UC) system fixed as millions of Pennsylvanians continue to file for unemployment benefits.
“Since the start of the business closures in March, my office has assisted hundreds of Pennsylvanians who live in and outside of the 196th District. Many of these people continue to have major problems collecting unemployment compensation and are depleting their savings accounts to pay the bills,” Grove said. “The system to assist Pennsylvanians has failed. The time for excuses is long past. Enough is enough. Get it fixed.”
While many Pennsylvanians struggle to get by and worry about losing their homes, others have received more unemployment compensation than they should have.
In his letter to Oleksiak, Grove recounted two of many troubling cases: “We know of a constituent who applied for UC one week during March. He returned to work and never filed again. He continues to receive weekly checks and has now received payments in excess of $6,000. He has done everything he can think of to stop the money from being direct deposited into his bank account. Another constituent, a college student, was to begin a job in May. The job never materialized. She filed for PUA. She has received over $9,000. It is her belief (the Department of Labor and Industry) back calculated her payments to March and paid her accordingly.”
As these constituents are receiving UC payments which they should not have, many other constituents are still waiting for back UC payments from March. Many of these constituents are facing dire financial crisis due solely to the department’s inability to make correct payments.
These improper payments are one of the many reasons the House of Representatives unanimously adopted House Bill 2353
, prime sponsored by Rep. Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny), to mirror federal laws to reduce improper payments to ensure government gets it right the first time.
“Further, the continued failure of finalizing a working UC computer system is why Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and I introduced House Bill 2567
and Senate Bill 810
to ensure government computer projects are on time and on budget,” Grove said.
So far this year, a staggering 3.5 million Pennsylvanians filed for unemployment. Gov. Tom Wolf’s business closures created the highest number of unemployed Pennsylvanians, surpassing the 2 million workers who filed claims during the Great Recession in 2009. The total number of initial claims for the past four full years (2016-19) was 3,380,130.
To read Grove’s letter, go to his website, www.RepGrove.com
, and click on “Problems in UC System” under the tab called “Initiatives,” or, click here
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross