Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefits
The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program in Pennsylvania (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.
Explore the eligibility requirements, application process and all the other information related to Unemployment Insurance the applicant may need to successfully claim for benefits.
Eligibility to Apply for UI Benefits in Pennsylvania
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 $2178. This would guarantee minimum weekly compensation of $68, and qualifying wages of $22,639 or more would ensure a maximum weekly benefit of $561.
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.
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)
How to Apply For UI Benefits in PA?
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 JobGateway, a work search website, within 30 days to maintain eligibility. https://www.careeronestop.org/
Some of the services offered by PAT are:
- Biweekly claims filing
- Information on benefit payment
- Information on federal withholding tax.
- UC-1099G information
- 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).
How to File Weekly Claims
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.
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.
Use the calculator to find out how much weekly benefits you may approximately earn in the state of Pennsylvania.
Things to Know After Filing An Application
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.
The federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) has become defunct as of Dec 28, 2013. Claimants are advised to depend on UI Benefits which last for a period of 26 weeks until EB and EUC are made available. The applicant can also visit the state’s UI agency website to determine the current available Reemployment Assistance plans.
Job Training Assistance
Make use of the Pennsylvania JobGatewaySM 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 http://www.doleta.gov/tradeactOpens for more information on the TAA program.