Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry

Helping Claimants Understand What Happens at “Benefit Year End”


The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry wanted to help people understand whether they needed to renew their unemployment benefits and what next steps to take. It wanted to lead constituents to the answers on its website, rather than having them call. The benefit year ended in May 2021, so since it was already March, it needed something fast.

Our approach

Within one week, the USDR team created an interactive tool using Jotform and branching logic that directs users through the tool based on their individual circumstances.

A screenshot of the start page of the tool

To improve the user experience, USDR’s team simplified the tool’s language and content to help people better understand which type of benefits they were receiving and whether the benefit year end was applicable to them. Using Jotform’s date input and conditional logic, the no-code tool determines whether the user is requesting information before or after their benefit year end date and also estimates the amount of benefits received.

“Partnering with USDR has been so helpful for us. USDR’s work on our website is going to pay a lot of dividends for Pennsylvanians who are frustrated and looking for information quickly.

Joe Lee
Deputy Secretary for Administration
Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry


In the first six weeks after the tool’s launch, it was seen 1.1 million times and used more than 60,000 times. The tool is still live, helping eligible Pennsylvanians understand how to continue receiving unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If I hadn’t [used the tool], I’d think, ‘I’m going to have to reapply all over again.’ And that would have caused me a continued nightmare, and lack of sleep.”

User research participant

Meet the team

Alyssa Levitz
Alyssa is a product manager. She was formerly USDR’s Technologist-in-Residence for unemployment insurance.
Caroline Jordan
Caroline was previously a volunteer with the USDR Marketing Team. Professionally, she provides full-stack marketing, communications, and project management consulting.
Michael Stanford
Michael is a technologist and strategic consultant, providing advisory and analysis services. He also develops an iOS app called Habit Head.
Robin Carnahan
Robin Carnahan previously led USDR's Governments Team. She’s currently the Administrator of the General Services Administration.
Sam Zeitlin
Sam is a machine learning engineer at Elastic, a data science leader, and a former cancer research scientist.
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