Pennsylvania is now offering in-person appointments at select locations for claimants to speak with someone about their unemployment claims, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) has announced.

In-person consults are being offered at select offices of the commonwealth’s employment service, PA CareerLink, in the southwestern and southeastern metro regions – but are expected to be expanded in the future.

“The crisis of the last two years has taught L&I some valuable lessons, and we’ve taken the time to look at the unemployment compensation system, identify areas that needed attention, and make improvements that benefit Pennsylvanians,” Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier said a news release.

“With this rollout of in-person appointments and assistance at CareerLink offices, L&I now has a greater reach into communities of underserved populations,” Berrier continued.

With widespread business closures at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s unemployment system found itself swamped with claims at a time when it was still struggling with updating its electronic records system and dealing with the impact of prior budget cuts.

The state Department of Labor and Industry was hit with over one million initial unemployment claims in less than a month during late March and April of 2020, according to federal labor data, leading to months-long backlogs and a scramble by the department to bring on more staff.

Unemployment claims are currently back at normal levels, with 8,797 initial claims filed in Pennsylvania during the week ending May 14, 2022, and the commonwealth’s total insured unemployment roll at 67,072 as of that date, according to federal data.

Although federal initiatives such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program – which extended unemployment benefits to contractors and the self-employed – expired in September of 2021, Pennsylvanians can still speak to unemployment officials about unresolved claims.

In-person consultations are available at the following CareerLink offices on Mondays and Tuesdays by calling the appropriate office to make an appointment:

Delaware Co., 701 Crosby St., Ste. B, Chester, PA 19013 610-447-3350