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Pennsylvania Unemployment Eligibility

Pennsylvania Unemployment Eligibility

If you’ve lost your job in Pennsylvania due to no fault of your own, you may be eligible to receive unemployment assistance. Unemployed workers are welcome to apply for unemployment benefits. The state of Pennsylvania will review your claim to ensure that you meet the qualifications.

Before you submit an initial claim, it helps to understand what reviewers will look for as they evaluate your application. Ultimately, whether your unemployment claim is approved will depend on the information you provide within your application, along with the information your employer will supply.

Pennsylvania Unemployment Eligibility Calculator

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3 Eligibility Requirements for PA Unemployment Benefits

  • Financial Eligibility
  • Job Separation Eligibility
  • Maintaining Eligibility

There are three important components you should understand about your eligibility for Pennsylvania unemployment compensation. We’ve outlined them for you below.

Financial Eligibility

The first thing the state will consider when reviewing your PA unemployment benefits claim is whether you meet financial eligibility requirements. This means that you’ve previously worked enough hours and earned enough wages through covered employment to meet the state’s minimum qualifications.

Once that decision has been made, you’ll receive a Notice of Financial Determination from the Office of Unemployment Compensation. This notice will outline whether you are eligible, and if so, the amount of unemployment assistance you can expect to receive.

Job Separation Eligibility

In addition to determining your financial eligibility, the state will consider the circumstances of your separation from work. Keep in mind that unemployment compensation exists to help workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, so your claim will need to show that.

Workers who are laid off or had their hours reduced generally qualify for unemployment assistance. In cases where work environments are toxic, hostile, or dangerous, even workers who voluntarily quit their jobs can be eligible. If you’re unsure about your specific situation, this information about how to apply for unemployment benefits in PA may help.

Both you and your employer will be asked about the circumstances of your separation from work, and if you submit differing stories, you’ll be allowed the opportunity to fully present your side of the situation. For instance, you may be asked to complete a follow-up questionnaire that helps provide details about your former work situation.

You will receive notification of whether your situation entitles you to unemployment compensation, and if your claim is denied, you also have the opportunity to appeal the determination.

Maintaining Eligibility

When it comes to unemployment compensation, it isn’t enough simply to have your initial claim approved. To maintain your eligibility for PA UC benefits, you must file a weekly claim. The state of Pennsylvania lets you file weekly or biweekly. For purposes of certification, a “week” is defined as a calendar week that begins on Sunday and ends the following Saturday.

Maintaining your UC eligibility requires you to submit information each week regarding any work activity, wages earned, severance pay received, or jobs offered during that time period. This weekly filing information helps the state verify that you continue to be eligible for the unemployment compensation you are receiving.

To maintain eligibility, you must meet certain conditions with each weekly or biweekly claim. For example, you must show that you are able and willing to accept suitable work when it is offered. You also must not refuse any suitable work when it’s offered without a reason constituting good cause. In some cases, you might be asked to participate in the state’s re-employment services.

You will also be required to register for reemployment services at PA CareerLink within 30 days of submitting your initial claim for UC benefits. You must show that you are actively seeking work during each week for which you claim unemployment compensation. To do so, you’ll need to keep a log of weekly work search activities.

You can choose to file weekly or biweekly. It’s very important to submit your weekly or biweekly claim in a timely manner – this submission is what determines the timing and amount of your weekly compensation. You can file your weekly certification through your online account, over the phone, or by mail, though the easiest and most timely certification method is through your online account.

Common Eligibility Questions

I was fired from my last job, can I still qualify for UC?

To be frank, your chances are slim. Typically in PA, folks who get fired from their jobs are rarely considered eligible for UC. This means that claimants who lost their reason due to no mistake of yours alone get to receive UC benefits. So it is unlikely that you will qualify for UC.

However, we still recommend that you file a claim for UI. There are some cases where even fired claimants were deemed eligible for UI, so you should not refrain from filing for UI just because you were fired.

If you feel that firing you was uncalled for and that  not justified, bring that to the attention of the authorities at the Unemployment Insurance Agency. If your claim was denied because you were fired from your last job, you may get the chance to appeal .

I was laid off from my previous job as the company was shutting down. Will I qualify for UI benefits?

Laws vary from state to state in the U.S. In general, claimants who were laid off from their jobs because there was no sufficient work or because the company was shutting down are usually eligible for UI. As long as there is no mistake of yours behind your job separation, you should be okay.

However, keep in mind that it is not the only criterion for qualifying for UC. You must have earned minimum wages and worked minimum hours during your base period to be eligible.

I wish to quit my job for a very genuine reason. Will I be able to collect UI benefits?

That would depend on the reason that compelled you to quit your job. However, in general, claims are denied to claimants who opted for a voluntary resignation as this is a direct negation to the rule that applicants must have lost their jobs due to no fault of theirs.

That said, the state of Pennsylvania does understand that there could be reasons outside of your control that compel you to leave your job. Hence, some applicants are considered eligible if the reason behind the decision to quit was one of the following.

  • Unavailability of suitable transportation
  • Harassment at work
  • Unfriendly working environment

Want to know about how much you will receive? Calculate your benefits here

Watch this video to know more about unemployment eligibility requirements in the state of Pennsylvania.

  1. I opened a claim for unemployment compensation in February and went back to work
    the beginning of March. The job was supposed to last for longer than it did and will again be laid off the first week of May. Can I simply file a weekly claim request or do I have to begin the whole procedure again?

    • Hi, Stephen – If you opened an unemployment compensation claim within the past year, stopped filing for those benefits, but now need to file for benefits again, you can simply reopen your existing claim. It doesn’t matter if you’re filing with the same employer or a new one, if you’re filing for UC benefits within the 12 months that you opened your initial claim, you will reopen it to file for benefits.

  2. I will be filing unemployment to follow my active duty military spouse to another state. How soon can I put in my resignation in Pennsylvania. I can’t find any information on whether it is 15 or 30 days prior to the move.
    Thank you

    • Dear Ashley,

      You may qualify for Trailing Spouse benefits. To be eligible, you must show the reason for your husband’s relocation was beyond your control, and that such relocation creates economic conditions that can’t be overcome and/or it’s impossible to maintain two residences. Since most of us can’t maintain two residences, and why would in the military, this is a done deal.

      As for when you can quit, I can’t find any rule on their site either. I think if you decide on 3 weeks they can hardly deny you for violating a rule they don’t tell you about! Thirty days is reasonable.



  3. What constitutes “involuntary reasons” when resigning from a job. My job description changed significantly including an increased amount of travel both domestically and internationally; all overnight. When I was hired, that was a determining factor when I accepted the job. I cannot travel at this time due to medical reasons, so with the new requirements, I believe the job I was hired for was eliminated and a new one was created. Is a significant change in job requirements that include something you are not able to do an “involuntary reason”?

  4. The company I am working for has informed me that the business will be closing at the end of the year. I have worked there full time for 7 years. Will I be eligible for unemployment benefits? And when should I file?

  5. I worked for a year on a floating scheduled some weeks 3or 4 days some weeks 5 days
    my earning far exceeded the qualifying amounts and weeks to earn required credits
    I submitted a weekly report to payroll and was on a salary bases. will I be able to qualify
    for benefits.

  6. Hello, I was given an offer for work as an insurance agent, but the pay is only through commission. I left my previous job to begin training on getting licensed to sell insurance, and it might take anywhere between three to five months before I start getting paid selling insurance to my (potential) clients. Am I eligible for UC and can I file for unemployment?

    • Robert,

      Contract/commission workers do not generally qualify since employers do not remit unemployment taxes into the system. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

      • Hi I work on a Frac in northern PA. I make about $3k a month and log roughly 84 hours in a biweekly period. A Frac usually lasts a couple of months, then I switch to another one, however I’m about to be laid off after the current frac I work on closes because there are no more open fracs at the moment. My boss is not sure when the next frac will be open.

        My main concern isn’t eligiblity, it’s the maintaining part. Why do I have to search for other jobs when I’m still technically employed? What happens if I take another job, then a Frac opens and I am no longer laid off. I would have to quit that new job without notice to work on the frac, it makes no sense please help me understand it haha, thank you

  7. Hi, I have a green card and can apply fpr citizenship later this year. I lost my job due to budget cuts. If I apply for unemployment benefits, will that be cosidered a public charge and will it affect my citizenship application? Please help.

  8. I was just informed Monday, I would be losing my job. It’s now Friday and the company has no work for me. After eight years of service what am I entitled??If I take another job in the same field making less $ can I get partial benefits till I get back on my feet?

    • Christopher,

      If you’re on full-time payroll of the company, please consider applying for partial UI benefits until you find employment.

  9. If i decide to quit my job because of unhealthy work environment where I feel we are not treated fairly (there are more than 1 person who will quit for the same reasons) can i file for unemployment? i leave in Philly

    • Ana,

      It depends on what constitutes to be called “unhealthy”. Before making a decision, please call the Unemployment Office for clarification and decide accordingly.

  10. I work for a school district and I had an emergency appendectomy done and was out of work for two weeks. During this 2 week span the school year ended and i was unable to return to work. Would i be eligible for benefits, or would this be considered a voluntary quit?

    • Dan,

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

  11. If the factory you work at is being sold and you receive a termination letter … then the new owner gives you a job offer letter that is a paycut for doing the same job are you eligible?

    • Stephanie,

      I don’t think you will be eligible on the mentioned grounds. Please contact the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  12. My husband has been out of work since July 11, 2016 due to a car accident from a seizure he had in the driver’s seat on the road. He went back to his work to start again but his boss said that there is nothing available for him right now. He was told that his job would be held for when he comes back, but it wasn’t. Can he collect UI?

    • Michelle,

      Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. The claimant is required to have employment and earnings in the last 4-5 calendar quarters. Please ask your husband to call the Unemployment Office for details.

  13. My Company was sold and those of us that will stay until the sale is complete, (a few months from now) will receive a “stay bonus” paid out as a bonus. Will I still be eligible for UE? Or does it depend on the amount of the bonus?

    • Yes, you can be eligible to claim after the Bonus payout.

      Please make sure to declare the same as income at the time of applying for UI benefits.

      • I was working per diem at an outpatient endoscopy center. Then they gave me 4 days a week . We stay from 6 am to whenever the last case us totally done. About 9 to 11 hours a day. I was not working 5 days a week so did not get any benefits. They cut me to 3 days a week. Now 2 days a week. I’m diabetic. Diet controlled. We don’t, well some of us, get any breaks. I cannot eat properly to maintain my glucose levels. The change made to 2 days a week was involuntary. Can I collect for at least 1 extra day? I also work per diem at a surgery center. They don’t use us that much. And as I was obliged to work 3 to 4 days at the endoscopy center, I couldn’t give them more time. I did ask the surgery center for more time , but they are slower right now.

  14. I have been working at my place of employment for the last year. They recently did a shift bid and I was at the bottom of the list (meaning I got what shift was left with no choice). This changed my hours from 2:00pm-10:00pm to 6pm-2:00am. I no longer have transportation due to my wife having the car for her work. She can normally pick me up but it is a strain on her due to her working early in the morning. Would I be entitled to unemployment until I find a new job?

    • John,

      Generally, quitting voluntarily means, you will not qualify. However, yours can be a valid reason. Please speak to the Unemployment Office.

  15. I will be laid off in a month. The company is providing 6 months of severance pay in one lump sum. When can I or should I apply for Unemployment benefits

  16. The car dealership I work at was just bought out. The parent company still exists. The new owners who will be taking over on May 8 told us today that our department is being eliminated that day. I will not receive an offer from the parent company. I live in PA so can I collect? Really stressed out.

  17. I’m a PA resident who is being medically retired from the Navy. I’m currently in California, and will probably stay here while I search for employment. Would I file for unemployment in PA or CA?

  18. If the state is closing my prison that i work at and i choose to furlough can i receive unemployment benefits? they say they will give us a job at another institute but i have only one choice that is even close to my residence. we are trying to get the home ready to sell but i don’t know how long that will take, never been unemployed before, dont know what to do…..

    • If you’ve been completely laid off from the job, you can be eligible to claim employment until you find a new job.

      Please consider applying.

  19. I am currently working in a warehouse where the last 3-4 months, we get told at least 3 days a week, ( I work 4, ten hour days), that DUE TO LOW WORK VOLUME, we do not have to go in, and taking the time off will NOT be held against us. Would I be able to open a partial claim??

    • Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. UI benefits are only extended to those who are able and available for work.

  20. I resigned my employer in PA where I worked for 18 months and relocated to NC. 2 weeks after moving here I got a part-time ongoing HR position. After 6 weeks of working for the company, the owner called me in his office and said that they would have to eliminate my position due to financial reasons. So now I am unemployed due to no fault of my own. I filed for UC here in NC but I was told by them that I needed to file in PA against the NC employer and my UC benefits would come from PA. Is this correct?

    • Yes, that is correct. If the employment was based in PA, you should be filing from there since your employer would have remitted the taxes there.

    • Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. UI is only extended to those who’re able and available for work.

    • In some states, you can get both. Please call the Unemployment Office for further details on how it works in your state.

  21. I have worked full-time doing accounting for a company for 32 years and also the Treasurer for signing purposes only. There is a chance that the company my be going out of business. Will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

  22. I closed the business I owned in March. I am presently employed but fear I may be laid off. Would I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

    • With just under 3 months of salaried employment, you will not qualify.

      You would need at least 4-5 quarters of active employment. Please inquire further with the Unemployment Office in your state.

  23. I work at a small nonprofit organization and was recently furloughed without pay for two weeks, as were all salaried staff, due to the organization being unable to make payroll. I have been invited to return in two weeks and continue to work. I do not want to return because I no longer trust that there is enough money to pay me.

    If I were to simply not return to work would I be eligible to collect unemployment benefits? If I were to go back and submit my resignation for this reason, would that affect my eligibility?

    I have already begun to apply for other jobs.

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

      If you resign, it would be considered voluntary.

  24. If I am out of work due to a labor issue(union called a strike) am I eligible for UC. If so and I live in another state but work in PA., where do I file

    • Not sure if you will be eligible for temp time off from work.

      Please inquire with the Unemployment Office in PA.

  25. My employer has accused our department of theft and says he doesn’t trust anyone. He is sending employees from other departments to learn the work we do and to spy even though there are cameras. It is very stressful at work now since being accused. He said he will not fire anyone he will force us to quit so we can’t collect UC. Can I collect if I quit due to this stressful environment?

    • You can be eligible if you leave due to hostile work environment.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  26. My employer of 4yrs is relocating it’s 2 buses about 1.5hrs trip each way. I cannot physically take a bus, for the last year. I don’t have a way to work. My manager is suggesting carpooling since it is so far. Intentions are good, but I don’t think this will be a reliable solution. Would I qualify for benefits until I can find employment closer to my area.

    • Some states do consider this as a valid reason to quit. Not sure how it works in PA.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for specific information.

  27. I own my S-corporation. I am on my payroll. I pay unemployment taxes. Under what circumstances will I ever be permitted to collect unemployment compensation benefits (besides bankruptcy), because for the most part I am not allowed to collect because I am an owner/officer of the business. Once in awhile business is slowed to a halt. I have been paying my taxes for seven years now. I seem to be involved in Taxation Without Representation. Thank you!

    • Marie,

      We do not have any information in this regard. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for precise information.

  28. Hello,
    My spouse and I currently live in PA. I have secured a job in Indiana and my husband has had to quit his job to move with me. I see that in the FAQ’s that you are eligible if you quit you job if: “Transfer of a spouse to a new location.” I understand that we have to apply in PA because that is where my husband has worked. Will he still receive benefits through PA unemployment if he lives in Indiana?

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

      • Please clarify when someone will be eligible for unemployment when they quit voluntarily. It states on this website that for the following reasons a per son may collect of they quit voluntarily:
        Ill health
        Unavailability of suitable transportation
        Transfer of a spouse to a new location
        Harassment at work
        Unfriendly working environment
        I asked specifically about the “Transfer of a spouse to a new location” stipulation and I was told: “He will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.”
        If this site is not correct, please revise. Otherwise, could you clarify when a spouse would be eligible in this case?
        Thank you.

        • Apologies for the content published in this regard. Information on this page has been corrected.

          You may want to check with the Labor authorities in your state to confirm.

  29. Hello,

    I left my job in December 2015 to pursue a career in teaching. If I am unable to secure a job after student teaching, would I be eligible to collect unemployment?


    • If you quit voluntarily, you will not be eligible since unemployment benefits are only extended to those who lose job due to no fault of their own.

  30. My husband was offered a promotion in which we had to relocate from PA to FL. If my husband didn’t accept the promotion he was going to be terminated because his employer decided to close all their PA stores. Since my husband’s income was significantly more than mine, I had to quit my job of 2 years and move. Upon moving and selling our PA home his employer decided to cut his pay by more than 25%. We lived in FL for about 5-6 months total. During that time I worked 2 jobs. Both ended before the 90 day probationary period. I was let go from the 1st job and I left the 2nd to because my husband accepted a new job back in PA. Now that I am back in PA I am having a really hard time find employment.
    In the end I had to quit 2 jobs. Once for my husband’s transfer to a new location and second for his acceptance of a new position after his pay was cut by more than 25%. I’ve never been unemployed, could I possibly receive UC?

    • Please use the calculator available on this site to ascertain your eligibility.

      You will not be eligible if the last job was lost due to voluntary reasons.

  31. I will be getting laid off from my part time job of 28 yrs.. That job has been a supplement for my income. I do have a full time job. Will I be able to collect partial UC?

  32. The job I’ve been at for around 6 months (I was employed elsewhere prior for over 1 1/2 years) is constantly changing our schedules. It’s been about 6 times now. The current schedule change will only allow me to spend around 2 hours a day with my 13year old son. It is only him and I so he would be left alone from 5pm until the following morning until I get home around 6:30am. He leaves for school at 7:10am and gets home at 3:15. Would I be able to collect for not being able to work the new shift because of it being unhealthy for my son?

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

  33. I was let go from a previous employer and was collecting UC benefits. I took a new job, but the physical demands are more than I am able to handle. I am less than a month into the new job, am I able to collect?

    • Please call the labor authorities in your state for further information. You may not qualify if you quit voluntarily.

  34. i am active duty military and i will be getting discharged on a future date honorably can I start the claim before getting my dd214 and then finish the filing after?

    • Please call the claims center/customer service for further information. Each state has its own rules for Military men.

  35. I work for a school district in pa. My custodial job is being outsourced to another company, I do not want to be forced to work for them, even if they offer me a job, can I collect UC & look for work elsewhere?

    • If you voluntarily decide to resign due to the changes in the organisation,you will not be eligible to receive UI benefits.

      Remember,UI is extended to those who become jobless due to no fault of their own.Please explore other options within your company.

  36. Dear Sir/Ms.,

    I live in North Carolina and lost my job at a PA company in Nov. 2013 of last year after working for the firm for only six months. I filed for UC benefits at the end May 2014 at the end of my severance period. PA UC has rejected my claim because they state that I do not meet the financial rules. Apparently greater that 49.5% of my income was made in the third quarter of my employment. The third quarter was a rather large severance payment. I initially appealed and after five weeks called this morning to follow up only to find out that my appeal had been rejected again for the same reason. They claim that notification was sent to me but I never received it. How do I appeal this? I do not understand the why my claim was rejected and how I go forward. Thank you in advance for your response.

    • Please contact the customer service/claims center and ask them for an adjudicator who will help you to amicably resolve the issue.

  37. In 2012 my employer due to financial reasons closed the office on Fridays promising as things got better we would return to full-time….didn’t happen. He was the Chief Administrator for the doctor. He died suddenly and the doctor recently closed Mondays. We work Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. Are we entitled to benefits to make up for this financial loss?

    • Please check with your employer if they paid specific taxes that contributed towards UI funds administered by the labor dept in your state.

  38. My company sold 3 stores to a new owner and mine was one of them. I am the store manager working on a base salary with commission, receiving benefits for family of 4. The new company has been quick to make promises that the insurance will be offered at the same cost to me but they have offered me my base salary with no sales incentives or commissions. I have been working during the negotiations but they have not increased their offer and it will be $16,000 less a year than I was making. Am I forced to take their offer or am I eligible for unemployment. AT that rate I would lose money going to work with childcare and other things. Thank you

    • Well,it depends.Whilst I understand the urge for you to move out,you must try well to negotiate better terms. UI is extended to those who are unemployed due to no fault of their own.It can be tricky for you.

  39. I am temporarily laid off from work due to complications from pregnancy. Will i be able to get unemployment benefits?

  40. My job is closing Dec.31,2013 when can I open a claim and where is the Unemployment office for North Philadelphia? I will not have a computer when they close. Thanks.

  41. I am retired from a State job, I receive a pension from the State. I also receive Social Security. I was hired as a Borough Coordinator Part Time. This position was recently eliminated. Am I now entitled to unemployment from the borough. I am 72 years old

    • As a Borough Coordinator, were deductions made for unemployment? If so, you are eligible to apply – age and social security have no bearing – you must actively seek and be able to work.

  42. I am still working but very little hours on Tuesday I drove 30 miles to Bristol worked 1 1/2 houres and was told there is not more work so we must leave.

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