Ciresi, O’Neal call for investigation into unemployment system failures

HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Reps. Tim O’Neal, R-Washington, and Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, have called on the House Government Oversight Committee to investigate the state’s unemployment system failures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter sent to House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, the pair cited the various issues residents have faced when “dealing with the outdated and obsolete unemployment compensation system in the commonwealth.”

Many individuals, the letter stated, have gone weeks, if not months, without receiving any income due to an outdated system.

“Week after week, year after year, most workers contributed to the Unemployment Trust Fund through payroll deductions,” Ciresi said. “Yet the failures of this system have left too many without income during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when they need these benefits more than ever.”

The letter noted that, each year, the General Assembly designates funds to be put toward system upgrades for the unemployment compensation program; yet it still failed to handle the strain of the 2.1 million claims created by the coronavirus.

“While we are all frustrated it’s come to this, I am happy to work across the aisle with Representative Ciresi to address the malfunctions of this system,” O’Neal said. “Ensuring a program works as it’s designed to work is obviously a non-partisan issue. We need to make sure Pennsylvanians will never again face this issue.”

The full letter is available through this link.