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Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefit Questions

Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefit Questions

I am a resident of Pennsylvania, but I got laid off from a job in a different state, where should I file my claim?

If you worked in only one state during your base period, that is where you should file for UC from. However, if you worked in multiple states during your base period, you should be filing a Combined Wage Claim (CWC). CWC can be filed from any one of the states in which you worked and earned wages during your base period.

If you are unsure about where you should file your claim from, contact UC service center and place a query either through the Internet or through phone call at 1-888-313-7284.

I was laid off last month and didn’t file an Application for Benefits right away. Can I get paid for those weeks?

Your PA unemployment benefits typically begin the week after you apply for benefits. However, once you’ve submitted your claim, you can reach out to the UC service center to request that your claim be backdated to the week during which you were laid off. You also may email to request that your claim be backdated. Service center representatives will determine whether to backdate your application so that you can receive benefits for those missed weeks. Please know that backdating of claims is rare – and generally is approved only in cases where the person did not file timely claims through no fault of their own.

I received a new full-time job. Do I need to report this to the UC service center?

To end your unemployment claim, you can simply stop filing a weekly claim. If you wish to deregister from CareerLink, you can notify the UC service center that you have found new employment. Beginning a new full-time job means that you are no longer eligible to receive unemployment compensation.

How can I check the status of my initial claim?

If you’re interested in checking the status of your initial claim as it goes through the review process, you should submit your initial claim online. Once you’ve done so, you’ll receive a confirmation email, so you’ll know your initial claim was received. Within the next few days, you should then receive three important documents, delivered through the communications method you set up in your account.

Those three documents are your Notice of Financial Determination, your UC Claim Confirmation Letter, and your PA UC Handbook. As long as you’re receiving these communications, you can rest assured that your claim is moving appropriately through the process. But if you don’t receive these documents or you have other questions about the status of your claim, you can check its progress by logging into the account you created when you filed your initial claim.

How do I file an appeal?

If you’re in disagreement with the Pennsylvania UC Service Center’s decision regarding your claim for unemployment benefits, you absolutely may file an unemployment appeal. To do so, simply submit either an appeal letter or an original letter to the address you’ll find on your Service Center determination. On your decision notification, you’ll also find a fax number if you’d prefer to submit your request for appeal that way. Or, you also may submit your appeal request via email to Be advised that email correspondence is not secure.

How do you speak to someone at PA unemployment?

Pennsylvania provides support for those applying for and receiving unemployment compensation through a series of call centers. You can find all the contact information for each service center on the state map of services near you. Simply select your county from the list and scroll down to UC Benefit Services – each service center can be contacted via a Pennsylvania phone number or office location.

You also can contact the main UC service center at 888-313-7284. Each service center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays typically are the highest call volume days, so you should expect longer wait times on that day.

How long is the wait for unemployment in PA?

In most cases, applicants will receive their first unemployment compensation payment within three weeks of filing their initial claim. This assumes that the applicant is eligible and that they have filed their weekly claims in a timely manner.

If you have elected to receive your unemployment compensation via direct deposit, you can expect to see it in your account roughly two days after submitting your weekly claim. Make sure to use the PA unemployment calculator so you can verify that your compensation amount is correct. And keep in mind that Pennsylvania requires a waiting week, which means that your very first weekly claim will not directly result in a paycheck.

It’s also important to note that, depending on the level of effort required to verify your employment history and reason for separation, some claims may take up to several weeks before the applicant begins to see benefit payments.

My layoffs are intermittent or sporadic, if so, how do I apply for Unemployment Compensation?

File an initial claim by either visit a One-Stop Career Center or by visiting the website UC service center or by calling them at 1-888-313-7284. Filing online would be the fastest way. Once your initial claim is processed, you may be expected to file bi-weekly claims to get weekly benefit checks. Should you fail to file the claim, the claim will become inactive. If you get a job for a week in between, don’t file for that week. And when you face unemployment again, simply re-open your existing claim and continue with weekly filing to claim your remaining benefits.

Does severance, salary continuation or separation pay affect UC benefits?

Any severance pay, that exceed 40% of the annual wage of Pennsylvania, is deducted from the claimant’s UC. The amount that is deducted from a claimant’s benefits is allocated the weeks that immediately follow the claimant’s job separation.


PA Unemployment Resources

  1. When I fill out pa unemployment application, I check no for second employer, but still asks for second employer info. Cannot get past this on application , is there a reason why it does this.

  2. My spouse worked in Pennsylvania for over 10 year and his job was recently eliminated. He has been actively seeking employment with no luck. His severance will run out in the next month. With no severance coming, will he now be eligible for unemployment?

  3. I have 2 questions:
    1) I am losing my job in Nov due to the company closing the building and moving to another location. My severance will be $3000. Since this will not be part of the base year, and probably won’t receive immediately, will this count towards my UC?
    2) I was out on disability for 6 weeks last June 2018. Will that be considered into my UC Benefits?

    • Sandy,

      Here are possible answers to your questions.

      1) It will bot be a part of the base period. However, you might be required to declare it at the time of application.
      2) It will be.

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office for clarification on both.

  4. I have been with the same company for the last 2 and a half years and hours have been drastically reduced. Am I able to collect partial benefits.

    • Nick,

      You should be eligible to collect partial UI benefits until full hours are restored. Please consider applying.

  5. I think my situation is tricky. I am in Sales and my company drastically changed the area’s that I had prior and they set goals that are unattainable. It was a restructure of a small handful of territories. They put me on a performance plan in the meantime for only 30 Days. I am 20 days into the plan goals and my sales are nowhere near what they set. I am heading to be fired in 10 days. Here is where it gets tricky, If I give my notice before being fired, and say it was a company restructure (because it was) and I did not meet the goals of the restructure through no fault of my own (unattainable) can I still file for UE? The HR person at the company said that when they are contacted they will only say that the employee is no longer with the company and I don’t think they will provide anymore details?

    • Matt,

      When you file a claim for the first time, the authorities will contact your employer to learn more about the separation. During the process, if your employer does not dispute or raise an issue, you should be able to claim weekly benefits without any hassles.

  6. My job was eliminated and I was given a severance package for about 10 months. This will be done at the end of May. Can I now apply for unemployment when my severance is done?

    • 3 questions and I greatly appreciate you help in advance since there is so little about severance available.

      1. Last day of work was Aug 31, 2018, but was paid thru end of July, 2019. Which do I use as last day of work?

      2. Reason for separation question: My job was eliminated therefore I got a severance. Do I call this a lay off or check other and describe

      3. Section 4: Question is are you or will you receive a severance. Since I already did and it is over, how should I answer this?

      • Caroline,

        Let me try and answer your questions to the point.

        1. Technically, your last working day should still be Aug 31. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.
        2. If you were asked to leave to involuntary reasons, it should be considered a “Layoff”.
        3. If there’s a comment box, you can sum it up in a line.

    • Caroline,

      That is correct. You can consider applying for UI benefits once the severance payout is over.

  7. I’m asking for a relative.
    He was collecting unemployment here in PA but recently moved to another state. He is only working a part time job in the other state. Can he still claim his unemployment from PA and how does he go about filing his part time hours, Any help is appreciated.

  8. Hi,
    If I am fired from a full-time salaried job and get a new job that’s 100% commission would I be able to get unemployment benefits?

    • Barb,

      I am not sure if you apply since you’ve found employment on a commission basis. Please contact the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  9. Hello,

    I am reaching out to see what my options are for my current situation. I was laid off from my company approximately 2 weeks ago. My current salary is $57,000. I have been offered a position in order to come back and work for the company. However, the pay I am being offered now is $28,000. If I turn down this new position/salary, what are my rights for filing unemployment? Will I be denied based on the fact that a new position was offered, or am I able to deny and still receive unemployment being that I was offered a position that is $30 less than what I make a year?

  10. I left my job in order to retire early with over 20 years of service; however I now find that I have a year and 1/2 before I can start drawing on my 401K. May I put in a claim for Unemployment to gap the time I’m able to retire?

    • Beverly,

      Please call the Unemployment Office to find out about your eligibility since UI benefits are only extended to those claimants who’re unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  11. I believe I have a unique situation. A co-worker that has been put in charge of the barbershop I have work in for the past 7 years and have amassed a healthy clientele, a few years ago, after coming back to work, told me that he would no longer be paying into my taxes. When I talked with his accountant he told me that it was perfectly legal for this co-worker that was put in charge of the shop, because the owner lives in another state, to change my employee status to an independent contractor to avoid paying taxes on my behalf to the IRS. This was done without my consent and I don’t know how this will affect me if I were to be dismissed from my job and have to file unemployment compensation. Can you help me with some guidance?

  12. Does Your initial claim has been processed. Please file your biweekly claims as instructed mean you have been approved for unemployment?

    • Matt,

      I don’t think it means “approved”. Please make sure to continue filing biweekly claims and call the Claims Center to know the exact status.

  13. My claim has been “processed” and I’ve been filing my biweekly claims as instructed the last two periods, but I have yet to receive compensation. Is this normal?

    • Jen,

      Ideally, there the first week is considered as the waiting period. You should have received the payments by now. Please call the Claims Center for assistance.

  14. I filed a claim for the week ending March 24 for just one week. I could not work because the county closed the park where I work. I never received the one week amount.

  15. A friend is currently on unemployment. Beginning next Monday he will be on house arrest with permission to leave for work. Will he be able to continue to collect?

  16. I recently filed for unemployment, and when asked for the names of my dependents there was only 2 spots. But I have 3 children. So now I am approved with the 2 dependents, but how can I change it to 3? I can not find this questions anywhere, and the telephones are busy. Thanks, Lauren

  17. I was an employee of Armstrong County from January 2, 1992 through January 2, 2018. My position was as the administrative assistant, judicial secretary, and law librarian under Judges Valasek and Nickleach. I was terminated by the newly elected judge who wanted to select his own assistant. I was offered a position roughly 50% of my salary. My income for 2017 was $45,721.60. I am now employed by a Kittanning law firm. My salary is $33,000.00 My question is whether I am eligible for unemployment compensation for the loss in income.

    • Tierney,

      Unemployment Insurance benefits are only offered to claimants who’re completely jobless. Please inquire further by calling the Unemployment Office.

  18. I have been filing my unemployment claims for 6 weeks and have not received a payment. I was told that payments were processed. I would like to know what is going on please reach me at 5708801824

    • Debra,

      Please note this is a private website and we do not have access to your claim file. Please chase the claims center by phone until you get a concrete update.

        • Hi, Daniel – you’ll need to connect with someone in the Pennsylvania unemployment office about the details of your claim. From the information you’ve provided, it sounds like your former employer may have reported a different reason for your separation than you did. Both you and your former employer must provide the same reason for separation, and that reason must be through no fault of your own, in order for your claim to be approved.

  19. I hold a full time job that as of 1/1/2018 will be eliminated and I will be filing an initial claim for this job but..I also am an independent contractor for the local newspaper company ( I deliver newspapers) As an independent contractor which does not pay unemployment compensation taxes, do I claim these wages?? Please advise

    • Lorri,

      Contract type of employment does not generally qualify. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  20. I have been at my job for 20+ yrs and broke my leg and had surgery in Sept. I was unable to work from Sep 4th through Dec 4th. When I went back to work was told I could have collected. Did this qualify me to collect and could I now submit a claim and collect for the time I was out. Thank you

  21. the store I was working at closed they offered me a job 33 miles away. with no compensation for the travel. I cant afford to drive that far. Am I eligible for unemployment?

    • Amy,

      If you decide to to accept the new location, it may be considered voluntary. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state to ascertain before making a decision.

  22. after 37 years at the same company I am being let go at the end of the month. I am 65 and was going to retire in February When do I file? I am very hard of hearing and unable to use a telephone My wife cannot get any info as they want to speak to me which is impossible

  23. Recently after 28-29 years installing alarm systems . My most recent Company of which I was employed for ten years was bought out by bigger alarm company. I was told I had a position and was tenured into the new company and my job was secure. After only 3&1/2 days I was called in to office and they said and I quote., “your skill set is not that of which we can use” after being told our what’s the cure with my job I I was let go during the acquisition, they said they would not deny my unemployment. But if while we were there 3 1/2 days on the unemployment form online it asked for your total amount of money and the amount if it’s over $3000 and something well of course it was not it was only 3 1/2 days so what do I put in this spot because they did officially have me on board for 3 1/2 days does it fall back on my previous employer do I give them the correct amount I made for 3 1/2 days and try to explain it online somehow or should I end up going to the actual office . I never file before my life I’m 59 years old and I don’t fill out something online that will be later kick back and told I didn’t work there over a certain amount of time and since my previous employer was bought by this company ?? What do I do I i’m single and had one income I need to keep the cash flow coming and going or else I will full behind right away. Help please!

    • Ken,

      I suggest you call the Claims Center on the phone number and take assistance while you fill the form online for real-time help.

  24. I’ve been checking my status for five weeks. Yesterday after all that time my status finally changed to my initial claim has been processed! What the hell does that mean? Forget about trying to call for clarification when every time I’ve called the past day and a half I’m told the wait is over an hour long! Today is my birthday and I don’t have two dimes to spare to pay bills or by myself a friggin cup cake.

    • Santos,

      Belated birthday wishes.

      I can understand your frustration. It looks like you will be paid soon. Please try and reach out during off-peak hours for lesser waiting time.

  25. I’ve been at my job for 24 years. They seem to be cleaning house. If I get fired or laid off due to my age 63 can I apply for unemployment?

    • You should be able to if you’re able and available for further employment.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to clarify if they have a cap on the age of the applicant.

  26. I am considered a displaced worker after working 17 years for the company, but was planning to start school in the fall. Will I be able to collect unemployment while taking classes and is there any funding available to help pay tuition?

    • You can get specific answers to these questions by calling the Unemployment Office in your state. Alternatively, these details can also be found on the official website of the Unemployment Agency –


  28. I have worked part time for a medical practice in PA for almost nine years. My hours of late have been radically reduced due to low patient volume. Am I able to collect UC since my pay has been radically reduced? I am seeking full time employment now, but nothing has come up yet.

    • I am not sure if you can apply for partial unemployment benefits on the basis of a part-time job.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further details.

  29. I was laid off temporarily from my main job in Pennsylvania with a recall date given and was found eligible for Unemployment after an appeal.

    However, I recently started substitute teaching 1 day per week during my lay-off. If I don’t substitute teach every single day, is that counted as not being available to work? The claim is for my main job, not the substitute teaching job – is it all or nothing? Basically, can I lose my benefits by only substituting 1 day per week?

    • It depends of the type of job contract. If it was meant to be a temporary job, you may not qualify to receive Unemployment Benefits.

  30. After losing my job, I opted to take an 8 week payout for my severance payments. Once my severance payout is over, can I start taking my full 26 weeks of unemployment benefits at that point? Or would it be reduced by 8 weeks because I waited for the severance payout to end?

    • Yes, you can apply for Unemployment Benefits after the severance payout expires.

      The number of weeks you’re approved for depends on multiple factors and not just severance alone. It is up to 26 weeks.

    • Severance pay is an income.

      A claimant receiving severance pay can be eligible to claim UI benefits after the payout is over.

    • Please note this is a private forum and do not have access to your claim information.

      You may chase the Claims Center on the phone numbers provided.

  31. If I did not know I was going to receive a bonus bc I Was laid off from the company. Do I have to claim the bonus on my biweekly claim bc it was not for employment during the weeks I’m filing for

  32. My claim expires at the end of next week but my bi weekly claim falls on this week. How can i claim the last week that I am eligible for?

    • If you have claim weeks left in your account, please claim during the time when the window is open as you’ve been doing.

    • You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

      Please call the Unemployment Office.

  33. If I work for a company full time and I also am listed as a partial owner of a separate company that I don’t collect any income, bonus or any form of compensation can I collect unemployment benefits from my full time job?

  34. Senior citizen working full time and collecting social security. Potential layoff pending. Does the SS compensation impact UC payments for the layoff?

    • Yes, it does. The level of impact differs from state to state. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further details.

    • I did not quite understand. If you worked part time only for two days in a week, I am not sure if you’re eligible.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further details.

  35. I left a job that I had been at for almost 5 years for a new job and then was laid off from the new job after 15 weeks, am I eligible for benefits?

    • If you were laid off from the latest job due to involuntary reasons, you can be eligible to apply for UI benefits.

  36. I was laid off a month ago, but didn’t apply for unemployment. I started a new job last week, but have since discovered that the job isn’t what I thought it would be. If I quit, can I now apply for unemployment?

    • You should be able to on the basis of your employment before this. Make sure to call the Unemployment Office to confirm before deciding to apply for the weekly compensation.

  37. I recently found work. My question is this: I realize that i can still file for the previous week that i did not work, however, can i still use the money that i currently have that was deposited for previous weeks? Am i no longer allowed to use the money as soon as my first day starts? I dont get paid for another 2 & a half weeks and the unemployment benefits is all the income i have until then.

    • Since each state has its own rules in this regard, please speak to the Unemployment Office to inquire about your eligibility to receive Unemployment Benefits.

  38. i left a part time job (25-30)hrs a week to take a full time job (40) hrs. a week, after passing clerances drug test,tb test,etc. I was not hired, was told i definitly had the job, i worked out a 2 week notice with my employer, am i able to collect unemployment? i had worked for my previous employer for 1 1/2 years.

  39. My hours have been cut from full time at 150 hours per month to part time at 75 hours per month, can I collect partial unemployment?

  40. Hello,

    I am currently out FMLA. My company is giving me a hard time about my leave. I have a feeling this is due to the fact I have filed a discrimination case with the PHRC with the company so they are trying every which way to fire me or force me out. If they should happen to fire me due to my leave as a result of my leave am I able to collect unemployment? Thanks.

    • You can be eligible if you’re fired from the job due invalid reasons.

      Be sure to keep supporting documents handy if there is a dispute from your employer when you apply.

  41. I worked 30 hrs got hurt at work took me to 27i got an open wmc cases but I’m still working last week my Dr took me outta work last week til the results of my MRI results they called and said they replace me. Can I apply???

    • Unfortunately, personal reasons such as health issues are generally not considered.

      Please call the Unemployment Office.

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