Simmons Votes in Favor of Unemployment Compensation Reform

On Thursday, Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh/Northampton) joined his House colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, in the unanimous support of the most significant reform of Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation system since 1988.  The amended legislation was sent to the Senate, where it was approved today.  It now goes to Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature.


Senate Bill 1030 will ensure that unemployment benefits will not be interrupted for 45, 000 Pennsylvanians currently looking for work.


“It is important to note this measure received bi-partisan support,” said Simmons.  “All House members realized how important it was to reach a commonsense compromise that reduces abuse of the system and allows benefits to continue flowing to those who truly deserve them.”


Senate Bill 1030 mandates that claimants actively search for a job in order to receive unemployment compensation benefits.  Pennsylvania was the only state in the country where it was not a requirement.


The legislation creates a partial severance offset, which limits the benefit for those claimants who are receiving severance pay after losing a job.


The reform bill should also result in significant savings for the Commonwealth.  The average annual savings to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund between 2012 and 2018 will be $133 million, with most of the reduction coming in the first four years.  The total savings over that time period is calculated at nearly $1 billion.


“This bill is a significant first step in reducing the state’s $4 billion unemployment compensation deficit,” Simmons said.  “But there is much more work to be done as we focus on making Pennsylvania more ‘business-friendly’ while still providing adequate support for those struggling to find a job during these difficult economic times.”


State Representative Justin Simmons

131st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Andy Briggs