Have you been calling the UC Service Center for hours or days about your unemployment claim without getting past a busy signal? It’s not that your phone (or their phone) is broken. It is that the State does not have enough staff to answer the phone.
Here are some tips for how to get around the busy signals. Not all of them get you immediate access, but they probably will be more reliable than just hitting redial and hoping.
1. Filing a new claim? Try the online application. It is available on the website of the PA Department of Labor and Industry. Here’s the exact link: https://www.paclaims.state.pa.us/UCEN/Welcome.asp .
2. Ask your state legislator’s office to help you. His or her “constituent service” staff can often cut through red tape for you. If you don’t know who your representative or senator is, check at this link:
3. Go to a PA Career Link office. The Career Link offices, which provide services to job seekers, have telephones that cut through the busy signals and go straight to a UC case worker. Beware, though, that you may need to wait in a lengthy line. Don’t know where to find the nearest Career Link? Use this website to find it: www.cwds.state.pa.us .
4. Have a sticky issue with your UC claim and are low income? Contact your legal services office. They may be able to help you solve it. Don’t know how to reach your local legal services program? Use this website to fine it: http://palawhelp.org/PA.
When all else fails: call the statewide toll-free number for the UC Service Centers (888-313-7284), and get that redialing finger ready!
For a fax sheet provided by the PA Department of Labor and Industry to fax in your question to them, go to the Department’s website from this link: http://www.uc.pa.gov/portal/server.pt/community/uc_pa_gov/11449 .
To read CLS’s policy advocacy about this issue, go here:
Operational Problems of PA’s UC Service Center System and Proposed Solutions
Appendicies - Operational Problems of PA's UC Service Center
Prepared by Community Legal Services, Inc. 1424 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19102; www.clsphila.org. (10-30-2012)