Pennsylvania UC (Unemployment Compensation) program is handled by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, which aims to provide a cushion, only if you qualify for the unemployment benefits. This enables a sense of relief to all of you who were at a constant risk of being completely stalled in your day-to-day activities because of unemployment and unpaid bills. The UC program in PA is designed to support the transition of workers when they lose their jobs until they find a new career opportunity. If an individual becomes unemployed through no fault of his or her own, he or she may file for unemployment benefits in PA to get monetary support.
UI Benefit Amount in PA
Unemployment benefits is a joint federal-state program in PA. It provides temporary benefit payments to partially replace lost wages. The following UI Benefits Calculator will help applicants determine the approximate UI Benefits amount that he or she can receive in Pennsylvania.
Eligibility To Apply For UI Benefits In Pennsylvania
Explore the eligibility requirements, application process and all the other information related to Unemployment Insurance the applicant may need to successfully claim for benefits. To be eligible for unemployment benefits in PA, applicants need to prove that they qualify for the following criteria:
The applicants should qualify for unemployment benefits in PA if the applicant has earned sufficient wages during the base period. This base period is usually the first 4 quarters of the last 5 completed calendar quarters.
The applicants should qualify for UI Benefits if sufficient wages are earned during the base period. This base period is usually the first 4 quarters of the last 5 completed calendar quarters.
In order to qualify for the first condition, at least 37% of the total qualifying wages must be earned outside the High Quarter of the applicant’s base period. The High Quarter is the quarter in which the applicant has earned his or her highest wages, and the qualifying wage is the total wages earned in the entire base year.
The Minimum qualifying wages required to qualify for the weekly benefits is $2718. This would guarantee minimum weekly compensation of $68, and qualifying wages of $22,639 or more would ensure a maximum weekly benefit of $560.
The second condition is that the applicants must fulfill the credit week requirement in order to gain eligibility for unemployment compensation. In the state of Pennsylvania, a credit week is defined as any calendar week within the base period, in which the applicant has earned $116 or more. An applicant will not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits in PA if he or she has fewer than 18 credit weeks in the base year.
The applicants must note that the weekly benefit amount is calculated based on the total wages received in the base year. They must also provide the information on the total gross wages earned during the base year and must assign the wages to the respective quarters in which it was earned. It must be noted that the applicants must list the total gross wages and not the take-home pay.
Once the financial eligibility is determined, the state of Pennsylvania will then take into consideration the reason for the separation of the applicant from his or her previous employment.
Unemployment benefits in PA are only given to those who have lost their jobs due to no mistake of their own and are willing and able to work full-time. An applicant will not be eligible if any of the following points applies to his or her case:
If the applicant has voluntarily resigned from the job without a compelling reason
If the applicant was removed from the organization due to misconduct or drug abuse
If the applicant participated in stoppage of work in the form of strikes and protests. (This disqualification does not apply to a lock-out)
The concerned department will call the applicants and their previous employers to determine the cause of separation. In the event of a mismatch in the reason provided by the applicant and his or her employer, it may lead to disqualification of the application.
A representative from the department will be contacting you and your previous employer to know the reasons for your present unemployment. And if the reasons for your employment are in contention either from you or your employer then you’ll be provided a chance to explain your side of the story so that there is clarity among all the concerned parties regarding the reasons for your unemployment. Say, something like a questionnaire may have to be filled and returned so that the representative is able to resolve all the issues raised, based on your response. However, if benefits are still denied, you can always appeal against the decision.
It could so happen that you could already be receiving the benefits and then a review can also take place later on. You’ll be served with the Advance Notice form, which will give you a chance to give all the necessary information about your eligibility to continue to receive UC benefits unless a written ineligibility has been issued against your favor.
Part-time employees could also be eligible for benefits if the following circumstances are true:
Your regular work hours are reduced.
You have obtained partial employment elsewhere with fewer work hours after being separated from your job.
You are separated from one job but continue to be employed by another employer on a part-time basis.
You’re not eligible for benefits if you’re working your normal hours of work per week with your regular employer or company.
See our eligibility calculator to find out if you qualify for Unemployment Benefits in the state of Pennsylvania.
If an applicant must remain eligible for PA unemployment benefits, it’s then important that he or she regularly seeks new job opportunities. Since UI is meant to help between jobs, it is vital that the applicant meets the specific job requirements.
In order to receive weekly benefits unhindered every week, applicants must ensure that they maintain the eligibility by following these procedures:
Be able-bodied and available for work
The applicants must file timely biweekly claims and certify their their eligibility for each week. The applicants are also expected to serve an unpaid waiting week
It is highly essential to record and present the work search details to the concerned authorities for each week
Report wages from any other work-related income
In the event of a job being offered, the applicant must not reject it unless there is a highly compelling reason to do so
The applicant must take part in the mandatory reemployment services such as – Profile Reemployment Program (PREP) and Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA)
In order to file an Initial Claim in Pennsylvania, applicants should keep this information available:
One can file an PA unemployment claim or reopen the existing claim through the following ways:
In Pennsylvania it is easily accessible to fill an online application. The online portal will be open on Sunday, from 6 am to 11 pm, and Monday through Friday, from 6 am to 9 pm, at www.uc.pa.gov.
Register with the CareerLink, a work search website, within 30 days to maintain eligibility.
The applicant can reach the Pennsylvania Teleclaims (PAT) to file claims via telephone by dialing 888-255-4728 or 877-888-8104 for correspondence in Spanish.
Some of the services offered by PAT are:
Biweekly claims filing
Information on benefit payment
Information on federal withholding tax.
Change UC PIN
The applicants could file the biweekly claims using PAT on Sunday from 6 am to 11 pm, and Monday through Friday, from 6 am to 9 pm.
You can also call the statewide unemployment compensation toll-free number at 1-888-313-7284 to obtain more information on Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation program (TTY services for the deaf and hard of hearing at 1-888-334-4046).
You can file a paper application which is to be downloaded and mailed or faxed to a UC service center receiving applications from your County
Videophone service is available every Wednesday from noon to 4 pm at 717-704-8474. (Sign language is the ONLY means of communication provided in this service).
Follow the step by step process to file for weekly claims in PA. This includes receiving the Claims Confirmation letter, using the 4 digit pin Number to file the claim and determining the date of filing the initial application for benefits. Applicants should file for two benefit weeks at a time and certify that they are eligible for each week separately.
Once the application is filed, there is some more information that the applicant needs to know to make sure that they receive the services without any hindrance.
Overpayments And Collections
The state of Pennsylvania places a lot of importance on the fair distribution of unemployment benefits. If an instance of overpayment occurs, the claimants must inform the concerned authorities and payback the excessive funds received.
A non-fault Overpayment: An overpayment is considered non-fault when it involves no fault of the claimants whatsoever. In such a scenario, the overpaid amount is deducted from future benefit payments.
The deductions will not exceed one-third of the total weekly benefit amount. However, if the total amount owed is $99 or less, the deductions may be made in a single week. No interest will be levied on non-fault overpayments.
A fault Overpayment: This occurs when a claimant receives UC benefits that he or she is not entitled to due to the fault of the claimant. In such a scenario, the claimant will have to repay the excess fund with interest. The claimant will have to pay 100 percent of their weekly benefit amount until the amount is recovered.
A fraud Overpayment: This occurs when a claimant knowingly provides false information or withholds important material to obtain UC benefits or to extend the benefit period. The deductions made in such cases are much harsher than the previous scenarios.
The concerned department may assign penalty weeks to the claimants, where they may not receive any benefits in spite of their eligibility. In addition to this, the department may charge a monetary penalty of 15% of the amount of the overall benefits.
When the unemployment rate gets too high, Pennsylvania might be able to offer an unemployment extension. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, certain individuals were eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA. Individuals who were unemployed or partially employed due to the COVID pandemic—for instance, because their workplace shut down entirely or reduced their hours—were able to collect PUA.
PUA was also made available to individuals who would not normally be able to collect UC, such as those who voluntarily left their job—as long as the reason had to do with the Pandemic, such as because they were sick with COVID, had to take care of someone else sick with COVID, or had to provide in-home childcare for their dependents because of a COVID-related school closure. PUA benefits covered 79 weeks and ended September 4th, 2021.
Job Training Assistance
Make use of the Pennsylvania CareerLink to obtain assistance in job training. This services in this portal include locating training services, obtaining vocational rehabilitation, and researching careers.
The applicants may also take a look at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), which offers various special programs, state grants and educational loans to help individuals attend college. For more information on this, log on to PHEAA’s website at www.pheaa.org .
The applicants in Pennsylvania may also explore programs offered by Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). TAA offers job training and other benefits to especially those who have lost their jobs due to adverse effects in imports or job relocation to other countries.
In order to be eligible for this program, workers must be laid off from a company that has a certified petition with the United States Department of Labor. Log on to https://www.doleta.gov/tradeactOpens for more information on the TAA program.
Not everyone collecting unemployment compensation is doing so honestly. In fact, some claimants are not even entitled to filing a weekly claim and are just taking advantage of the state’s unemployment insurance.
PA unemployment fraud occurs when a potential benefit recipient falsifies their application, such as lying about their employment history or wages. Applicants must also be honest about why they were terminated from their most recent job.
If you are prosecuted you may be subject to a fine, imprisonment, restitution, summons of federal tax refunds, and loss of future UI benefits.
How To Get Paid
It can take up to three weeks after filling your UC application to receive your first round of benefits.
This time period will include what is known as the Waiting Week, when you can file for your benefits as you will every single week, inputting information such as how many hours you worked (if any) and how much you earned (if anything). After you file your application, a review process will begin whereby the PA Office of Unemployment Compensation will review your employment history and reason for separation or termination.
Benefit recipients in Pennsylvania can have their benefits sent via direct deposit right into their bank account. If you’ve collected unemployment before, and still have the same bank account, the unemployment benefits will be deposited therein unless you specify a new account. If that account has been closed since the last time you collected, you need to put in new account information. If you don’t have an account or don’t want a direct deposit, benefits will be paid onto a debit card called a ReliaCard, managed by the U.S. Bancorp.
In previous times PA unemployment compensation was paid biweekly. Now it is dependent on when you file your weekly certification. If you file on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, your funds will be available Tuesday. Monday, available Wednesday. Tuesday, available Thursday. Wednesday, available Friday. Thursday, available Monday (not Saturday or Sunday). Make sure you are filing your certification every week, and on a day that will result in you getting paid when you need the money. It can also be very difficult to secure back pay for a week you missed, so make sure to file every week.
What Happens When I Find a Job?
If you return to full-time work then notify the UC Service Center about it immediately. After intimating the information, you’re no longer unemployed and thus, you’re not eligible for your weekly UI Benefits.
If you intend to start a spin-off venture on your own, then you’re considered to be self-employed, so you will no longer be eligible for UI benefits, even if your business isn’t making a profit. But, UI benefits can be still claimed if your business is a “sideline” activity matching the following criteria:
You are able and available for full-time work
You do not engage in your business the whole time
Your business is not the primary source of your livelihood
If your job is only part time, you may be able to continue collecting part time benefits (also called PBC or partial benefits compensation) via your weekly benefit claim.
Although it’s helpful to get a benefit payment to help out, you cannot collect unemployment compensation forever. UC Staff at any of the unemployment compensation service center locations are there to help you find a new job (by appointment), and there is the PA CareerLink website as well.
If You Are Denied Benefits
If you are denied unemployment benefits, you can file an appeal. You must submit an appeal within 21 days of being denied benefits, and follow the instructions that accompany the denial notification.
There are three levels for a claimant to appeal for UI claim denial:
UC Service Center Determination
UC Referee Decision
UC Board Of Review Decision
Under Article V of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law, the Department of Labor & Industry promptly examines each application for benefits and determines whether your application is accepted. The law also provides for an appeal process to allow claimants to object to an unemployment compensation determination to ensure that every individual is given an opportunity for a fair hearing.
Q. What are the additional responsibilities of the claimants?
Ans. The additional responsibility of the claimants include:
Provide Accurate and Complete Information
Report Any Separation from Employment
Report Holiday Pay and Vacation Pay
Report Severance Pay, Pensions and Back Wage Awards
Update Your Contact Information
Protect Your PIN
Q. How can I get my benefit period extended?
Ans. Presently, extension benefits are not available in the state of Pennsylvania.
Q. I'm presently collecting my severance pay from my employer, can I apply for unemployment benefits immediately?
Ans. No. You will have to wait till the severance payout is complete to apply for benefits in PA.
Q. How much weekly benefits will I receive?
Ans. In the state of Pennsylvania, eligible applicants receive a minimum of $68 and a maximum of $561.
Q. Would I have to inform the department if I decide to take up employment or start my own business?
Ans. If you are presently receiving unemployment benefits, you MUST immediately inform the concerned authorities if you are taking up a new job or starting a new business. If you fail to do so, it will be considered as committing fraud.
Q.Will receiving a pension make me ineligible for UC benefits?
Ans. The payment of pension may be deductible from weekly benefit amount if (1) your Base-Year employer has contributed to or maintained the pension plan, and (2) your work during the Base Year increased the amount of or affected your eligibility for, the pension.
In case if your employer was the only one who contributed to the pension, 100% of the prorated, the weekly pension amount is deductible. If you contributed in any amount to the pension, 50% of the prorated, weekly pension amount is deductible.
The following payments are NOT deductible, however:
Social Security and Railroad Retirement pensions.
A lump-sum pension payment, if you did not have the option of receiving monthly or periodic payments.
A lump-sum pension payment that is deposited (rolled over) into an eligible retirement plan, such as an IRA, within 60 days after you received the payment
In other words, you can avoid having your UC benefits reduced if you roll over your pension to save it for re-tirement. If you roll over only a part of a lump-sum payment, the portion of the lump-sum that is not rolled over is deductible.
Q. What happens after I've applied for UI benefits?
Ans. You will receive a total of three mails from the PA Department of Labor after applying for UI benefits. The first mail will contain an official Notice of Financial Determination. The second mail will contain a Claim Confirmation Letter (which is form UC-360) and a PIN (Personal Identification Number) for PAT, filing over the telephone. The third mailer will have a printed copy of the PA UC Handbook which is sent to you within a span of 10 days after you've applied for UI Benefits.
Q. I am currently in another state, do the registration requirements affect me?
Ans. Yes. You must register for employment search services in your local labor market in that state within thirty days after your Pennsylvania application for benefits is filed, but you must also register in the Pennsyl-vania CareerLink® system by the same deadline.