Pennsylvania Unemployment Appeal
If you’ve lost your job, unemployment compensation can provide a huge sense of relief. But what if your unemployment claim is denied, or you aren’t awarded the amount you think you deserve? It’s time to file a PA unemployment appeal.
3 Levels of the PA Unemployment Appeal Process
- Appeal a UC Service Center Determination
- Appeal a UC Referee Decision
- Appeal a UC Board of Review Decision
It’s important to understand how to calculate PA unemployment benefits so you can make sure you are getting the amount you deserve. The amount of compensation you can collect for 26 weeks is based on your most recent employment experiences. Unemployment benefits are determined by calculating the Base Year, which is the first four calendar quarters out of the five quarters prior to your application for benefits (AB) date.
Report your gross income during these quarters, not your post-tax take home pay. The quarter with your highest earnings is the one that will be used to determine your unemployment benefits. However, your benefit amount will only be about 50% of your weekly pay, up to $572. You can get an additional $5 for a dependent spouse and $3 per dependent child, but not more than $8 in weekly bonuses for these dependents.
3 Levels of the PA Unemployment Appeal Process
If your unemployment benefits claim is denied, you will certainly want to contest the decision. It’s also good to know how much you are supposed to receive – you should contest the decision if you feel the dollar amount is less than you deserve. Every dollar counts. If you have to collect unemployment compensation for 26 weeks and could be getting $8 for your dependents per week, that’s $208 on the line. For some households, that’s a week’s worth of groceries or a utility bill.
Appeal a UC Service Center Determination
When you file for unemployment, you will get a decision in the mail from an Unemployment Compensation Service Center. If you disagree with the decision or the amount specified, follow the directions that are included with the notification.
You must initiate an appeal within 21 days. Don’t wait – appeal right away. You can file the appeal via snail mail or fax it to the listed number. You can also log on to your PA UC dashboard and file an appeal online.
You will make your appeal before a referee, in person, within 30 days after your appeal has been filed. Note that at this time, UC appeal hearings are also being scheduled via phone for those individuals who would prefer that. About 7-10 days before the date of the hearing, the office of the referee will mail you a hearing notice with the date, time, and location. The referee will listen to your testimony in person, so this is your chance to make a convincing case.
Bring everything you will need to make your appeal, from paystubs (if the issue is the amount) to Social Security cards (if the issue is dependents) to letters of termination (if the issue is PA Unemployment Eligibility). You will not have another chance to present your case to this referee, so make it count.
Appeal a UC Referee Decision
Within two weeks of the hearing, you will receive a decision from the referee. If you don’t hear back within three weeks, contact the referee’s office. Hopefully, you saved the notice they sent before the hearing with that contact info. If you don’t start receiving benefits after four weeks, you should contact the UC Service Center.
If you don’t agree with the referee’s decision, you will need to appeal again within 21 days from the date of the referee’s decision letter. Note: The 21-day countdown begins on the date on the letter, not the date you receive it. You can mail in or fax in your appeal using the contact info on the letter, or you may go to the UC System and do it right online.
Your appeal of the referee’s decision will be put before the UC Board or Review. For this reason, you should make sure to mail, fax, or attach all compelling evidence that builds your case. Include a detailed, clear, and thorough letter explaining the circumstances surrounding your PA Unemployment benefits. If you elect to go before the Board, bring this letter with you. You may also bring legal representation with you to the hearing or elect them to appear on your behalf.
Appeal a UC Board of Review Decision
And what if you don’t agree with the UC Board’s decision? You will need to take your case to the courts. In the case of Pennsylvania, that means the Commonwealth Court. You will need to do this within 30 days of the Board’s decision. For this level of appeal, it is probably best to solicit the services of an employment lawyer instead of representing yourself.
Pennsylvania Unemployment Appeal Process
Unemployment insurance is available to help Pennsylvanians who lost their income through no fault of their own. It’s a financial safety net that helps people get back on their feet.
But what happens if your UC benefits are denied? It’s time to file a timely appeal. You must start by meeting with a UC appeals referee to present your unemployment compensation appeal.
If you disagree with the referee’s decision, you can take it to the next level of UC appeal hearings and appear before the unemployment compensation board. If you still disagree with the decision, seek a free consultation with an employment lawyer who practices in Pennsylvania. An attorney can represent you in the Commonwealth Court.
One final piece of advice: Throughout the appeal process, keep filing your weekly claim. If your appeal is successful, you can collect valuable back benefits.