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Crush of unemployment claims straining unemployment system

HARRISBURG — State Department of Labor officials said the “sheer volume” of more than 1 million first-time jobless has led to delays of up to three weeks for some people to get the personal identification numbers that allow them to submit their weekly claims for unemployment benefits.

Secretary of Labor and Industry Jerry Oleksiak said that the state has received 1.3 million jobless claims since Gov. Tom Wolf shut down non-essential businesses in March.

Susan Dickinson, director of unemployment policy for the Department of Labor and Industry said then when people have had questions about their claims, it’s been taking the department 15 days to respond to emails, even though that’s the method the agency has been advising people to use to get questions answered.

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Oleksiak said he understands that people awaiting help are getting angered by the delays.

“We want to get benefits to them as quickly as we can,” he said. “We are frustrated too.”

PA Workforce Development Association