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Pennsylvania promises quicker, easier jobless claims system

Pennsylvania promises quicker, easier jobless claims system

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — After a year of frustration over long waits for checks, jammed phone lines and confusing online filing procedures, Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry is promising a much quicker and easier unemployment compensation claims filing system.

The new system, scheduled to launch on June 8, is based on what the department said Thursday is modern software to replace an "obsolete 40-year-old mainframe legacy system."

It arrives after a series of bungled efforts to replace the system began in 2006 and culminated in a 2017 lawsuit.

Pandemic-related shutdowns starting last spring stressed the unemployment compensation system like never before, as claims shot to record levels and swamped a barebones staff forced to work remotely.

Complaints about the system have continued even a year later as the department has struggled to hire and train new employees on a complex system and absorb new jobless benefits programs on the fly.

“The new system will be easy to use, provide access to important information, and streamline the unemployment claim filing process for workers, employers, unemployment program staff, and third-party administrators,” Acting Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier said in a statement.

The new system will handle claims for unemployment compensation, pandemic emergency unemployment compensation, extended benefits, shared work or short-time compensation and trade readjustment allowances.

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