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10 Percent Of Pa.'s Unemployment Claims Are Still Stuck In Limbo

HARRISBURG (KDKA) - There's good news to report when it comes to Pennsylvania's unemployment benefits system. According to Secretary Jerry Oleksiak with the Department of Labor and Industry, 90 percent of all eligible claims have been paid out and processed.

But, there's still 10 percent of claims filed between mid-March and mid-June that are stuck in limbo.

KDKA's Meghan Schiller talked to two people who say they unfortunately find themselves in that group.

"I've never filed for unemployment in my life and I'm 54 years old," said Scott Kirschler.

Monday marks day 39 of waiting for Kirschler -- a father from Pine Richland.

"I have three kids in college and I'm running low on funds," he said.

He's trying to remain positive and is actively looking for new work. His long career in steel manufacturing ended abruptly on June 3.

"And here we are in mid-July. When should I expect money to be sent to me? I can't hold on that much longer," he said.


The state's leaders in the Department of Labor and Industry say the numbers are promising.

"As of today, that's over 90 percent that have received payment and the remaining 10 percent of those are a combination of claims that are unresolved," said Secretary Oleksiak.

Those in the 10 percent are unresolved for a number of reasons. Anything from accidentally submitting the wrong information to a potential hold up for people who work for local universities and colleges.

"Just because a claim is processed doesn't necessarily mean that someone is eligible for payment," said Susan Dickinson, Director of the Office of Unemployment Compensation Benefits Policy.

Julia Hudson filed her claim on June 4 and is still waiting.

"I check everyday to see if there's been a change in my status. I don't see one and so I move on," said Hudson.

She worked as an adjunct faculty member at a local university.

"It's not that it's tricky, it's just been silence -- we haven't heard anything," said Hudson.

If you find yourself in the 10 percent, the state encourages you, and people like Hudson and Kirschler, to keep waiting.

"In that situation individuals should continue filing because as we resolve the non-monetary issue -- if they are eligible -- we're then able to then issue all of those payments at once," said Dickinson.

A day that Kirschler needs to see soon.

"I'm going to be okay, but I'm not going to be okay if I don't have any money soon," he said.

The Department of Labor and Industry tells KDKA's Meghan Schiller its staff worked 189,000 hours of overtime since mid-March. The office also answered 47,000 emails last week alone, so the office recommends reaching out via email with any questions.

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