As Allentown’s unemployment center closes, Schweyer urges people to get the facts they need to preserve benefits

ALLENTOWN, Dec. 19 – With the Allentown Unemployment Compensation Service Center closing today due to a funding dispute in Harrisburg, state Rep. Peter Schweyer is urging people affected to get as much information as possible to maintain benefits.

“My first priority is to get that center back open again, but until that happens I want everyone to have the facts they need to maintain their benefits,” Schweyer said. “This closing will have a devastating effect on the 88 people who worked there, but even beyond that, there are thousands of out-of-work people who count on the service center for help with benefits, training and assistance in finding a new job.

“There’s never a good time for people to lose their jobs, but this closing comes at an especially terrible time, with so many seasonal workers soon to be laid off as the holidays come to an end.”

Schweyer urged people receiving benefits to first visit www.uc.pa.gov and select a service under the “Top Pages” column to handle claims and resolve issues in the quickest manner possible, but people can also call the central UC service center at 888-313-7284 or visit his office at 1912 S. Fourth St.

“We need our service center,” Schweyer said. “For people struggling to find work it’s important to know there’s a local office staffed with caring professionals who know you and know our area. You just can’t get that from a webpage or someone sitting on the phone a hundred miles away.”

Schweyer said he is introducing a bill on the first day of the new legislative session to fund and reopen the Allentown center and the Altoona and Lancaster centers also closed in the recent funding dispute. The state House voted 175-13 in October to fund an additional year of UC services, but the state Senate chose to adjourn without approving the effort.

Schweyer’s new legislation would extend funding through 2017, help find out how much money is needed to run the system and provide ideas on how to make the system more efficient.