In This Edition:
Telephone Town Hall – Thursday, April 16
Please register for the call at www.senatorlangerholc.com/tele-town-hall.
Pennsylvania Launches COVID-19 Job Hiring Portal
Pennsylvanians looking for work can now find life-sustaining businesses that are hiring through a new online COVID-19 job portal the Department of Labor & Industry is launching today.
People seeking employment can visit www.PAcareerlink.pa.gov and select the green “PA COVID-19 Jobs – Hiring Immediately” job portal banner to see active job openings. Selecting the “Apply Now” button for a listed position will redirect individuals to the employer’s website or email where they can apply directly with the employer and speed up the hiring process.
Life-sustaining businesses can feature their job openings on the portal through an easy to use online form. Businesses must meet the criteria of a life-sustaining business and must have more than 10 job openings.
The PA COVID-19 job portal is updated daily so businesses in need are spotlighted and people searching for employment have the latest job information.
The new COVID-19 job portal is part of the PA CareerLink® system, an effective one-stop shop for Pennsylvania job seekers and employers. Local PA CareerLink® business teams are assisting life-sustaining businesses to ensure their specific hiring needs are met.
Although PA CareerLink® offices across the commonwealth are physically closed to adhere to necessary social distancing measures, the majority of staff are teleworking and providing virtual services to both job seekers and employers.
Visit https://www.pasenategop.com/covid-19-resources/ for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.
Information Available for Claimants Struggling With Unemployment Compensation System
The spike in the number of applicants in the Unemployment Compensation system has created longer response times and a large backlog of cases that sometimes take weeks to resolve. A number of services are available online to help resolve some questions regarding the system.
Claimants who have filed an initial claim in mid-March who have not received a PIN should contact the Department of Labor and Industry as soon as possible. The same guidance applies to individuals who tried to re-open an existing claim in mid-March and are still listed as “inactive” when they try to file a bi-weekly claim.
If you meet one of these criteria or have other questions or problems that are not covered on the department’s website, please feel free to contact me for assistance.
Expanded Unemployment Benefit Payments Begin This Week
The federal CARES Act provides expanded unemployment benefits of $600 per week to eligible claimants. These payments are in addition to regular benefits provided through the unemployment system. The Department of Labor and Industry reports that these payments should arrive by Wednesday of this week for eligible claimants who received their regular payments for the week ending April 4.
Claimants who have not yet received a payment will receive the extra $600 per week in the days following receipt of their first payment. An additional 13 weeks of benefits will be available to claimants who have been affected by the pandemic.
More information on the state’s efforts to implement the provisions of the CARES Act is available on a new website created by the Department of Labor and Industry.
Benefits Available Soon for Contractors, Self-Employed Workers
The CARES Act temporarily makes benefits available to other individuals who are not normally eligible, such as people who are self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers. However, these individuals cannot apply through the current unemployment system; the federal government requires the state to create a new platform to provide these benefits.
The Department of Labor and Industry expects to have the new system up and running within the next two weeks. Claimants will be able to receive backdated payments to January 27 or the first week that they were unable to work due to the coronavirus, whichever is later. More information about the new program is available on the department’s frequently asked questions page.
Utility Providers, Other Companies Provide Assistance Programs
The COVID-19 crisis has affected millions of Americans across the country. Most major utility companies are offering special assistance programs to help families who have been impacted by the pandemic. Some of the programs include delayed or partial payments, hardship funds, budget billing and other programs to help customers.
More information about the different kinds of programs and services to help utility customers is available on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s website.
Individuals and families who are struggling to pay bills during this pandemic should reach out to their utility companies, mortgage/rental companies, credit card companies and other lenders to see what programs may be available to help.
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