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Grim Reminder Of Obama's Challenges

HARRISBURG PA – Here’s the kind of reminder President Barack Obama really doesn’t need.

The phones are back on today at the state capital (Jan. 20, 2009; Tuesday) to accept unemployment compensation claims in Pennsylvania.



From Friday (Jan. 16) through this morning, state Labor and Industry Acting Secretary Sandi Vito notes, the only way Pennsylvania residents could apply for unemployment benefits was online. That’s because state offices were closed during the weekend, and on Monday for the Martin Luther King federal holiday.

Now, however, workers in the unemployment compensation unit are, um, back on the job. Because demand for their services is (sadly) so strong, Vito ordered an expansion of telephone claims hours. The department now takes calls (toll-free at 888-313-7284) Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Be aware, though, that individuals are advised to call on specific days, based on their Social Security number. People with a Social Security number ending in an even number should call on Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday. Those ending with an odd number should call on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Having people call on varying days “will help to alleviate waiting times and allow us to serve claimants more efficiently,” Vito said Friday (Jan. 16). “The best time to call is later in the week and late in the day,” he added.

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