ALLEGHENY COUNTY (KDKA) — Every day that goes by, the situation is becoming direr for those who lost their jobs.
More than one million workers have filed for unemployment in Pennsylvania.
But almost off of them are still waiting on their first check.
It’s been more than three weeks since truck driver John Tysarczyk got his final paycheck from Vigliotti Landscaping & Construction in Penn Hills.
Now he’s worried about paying for his next meal.
“Where are we getting money for dinner?” Tysarczyk said. “Everybody is saying we have all this government money coming to us. It’s not coming. We need something. We need help.”
A shortage of processing workers and a less than state-of-the-art computer system at Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation Division has created a monumental backlog.
KDKA has fielded complaints from people who have called hundreds of times without an answer.
State Rep. Josh Kail, a Republican representing Beaver and Washington counties, says the state was just not prepared after ordering businesses to close.
“The state government should have been getting ready for this,” Kail said. “This isn’t a surprise that there are that many unemployment claims when you make these restrictive measures.”
For its part, the Department of Labor has just hired another 100 workers to process claims and shifted others from the less busy departments.
The department says workers should be getting payments by next week. But those checks can’t come soon enough for people like Tysatczyk said.
“I got to go shopping, but I have no money to go shopping,” he said. “I started out, I had a couple thousand dollars in the bank. Now I’m down to almost zero.”
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