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L&I Takes Additional Action to Improve Unemployment Compensation Customer Service

03/10/2021

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is taking action to make it easier for Pennsylvanians with questions or issues to reach the department. Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier today announced at least 500 new customer service representatives will be added to the unemployment compensation call center and experienced existing staff will transition to resolving claims full time.

"To the individuals on unemployment programs who've struggled to reach one of our customer service representatives, we've not only heard you – we listened," said Acting Secretary Berrier. "Adding at least 500 new customer service representatives accomplishes two important goals. It will make it easier for people to reach us via phone and will enable more experienced staff to focus solely on resolving and processing claims."

Faster Assistance

L&I is transforming customer service to provide faster assistance by phone and to resolve claims.

  • Hiring and training a minimum of 500 new customer service representatives to answer calls, collect information and build claimant inquiries by June;
  • Hiring and training between 50 and 100 new customer service team leaders;
  • Reassigning the existing UC staff members answering calls to begin processing claims full-time; and
  • Implementing a customer service tracking portal that will assign a ticket number to claimants outlining ongoing UC staff work related to their ticket number as well as their place in "line."

Increasing Call Center Staff

L&I is working with its call center vendor, InspiriTec, to hire the initial round of new staff by June. If needed, L&I is prepared to hire up to 1,000 total new staff to take claimants' calls and improve UC customer service.

InspiriTec is working with L&I's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and PA CareerLink® to hire the additional customer service representatives. Interested job seekers can apply by contacting their local PA CareerLink® office.

The total cost of the UCSC improvement will not exceed $58.6 million and will be paid for primarily using federal funding.

UC COVID-19 Statistics

Since last March, L&I's Office of Unemployment Compensation has:

  • Paid nearly $38.2 billion in benefits to unemployed Pennsylvanians;
  • More than doubled the total number of staff in all UCSC roles – from 775 employees last March 15 to the current total of 1,730;
  • Answered nearly 1.12 million total calls (32,977 last week) – an approximate 581 percent increase from the beginning of the pandemic;
  • Responded to more than 2.36 million emails (57,098 last week) – an approximate 1,782 percent increase from the beginning of the pandemic; and
  • Handled close to 245,000 online chats (3,491 last week) – an approximate 56 percent increase from the beginning of the pandemic.

For more information and updates on unemployment benefits programs, visit www.uc.pa.gov or follow L&I on Facebook or Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Sarah DeSantis, dlipress@pa.gov 

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