Pa Unemployment Compensation Guide
Filing your unemployment application in Pennsylvania is not a straight forward process. Set aside some time to understand the process before you apply for PA unemployment benefits. This guide explains the eligibility criteria, and the process to file for unemployment compensation.
Unemployment Insurance In Pennsylvania
- See also: Unemployment insurance in the states
Unemployment insurance is a term that refers to a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.
The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.
Although the word insurance is in the term, a few key differences distinguish unemployment insurance from private insurance plans such as home insurance, car insurance, or health insurance. In most states, employersrather than individuals themselvespay unemployment taxes that fund state unemployment insurance programs. When an individual loses their employment , state-administered unemployment insurance programs provide temporary monetary benefits to the former employee. Unemployment insurance compensation is not intended to replace lost wages it is designed to replace a portion of the individual’s lost wages with the goal of providing financial support as an individual searches for a new job.
This page provides information about the unemployment insurance program in Pennsylvania.
How To File For Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Make sure to review the PUA System Guide or the PUA Claimant Assistance Guide for helpful information on what items to have ready as you prepare to register and file your initial claim and navigate the PUA system.
The easiest way to file an initial PUA claim and to submit weekly certifications is online.
If you have questions or need assistance with issues related to your PUA claim, there are two ways to contact the UC team. Call 855-284-8545 any time between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday. You can also email . This phone line and email address are for PUA questions only.
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Expanded Unemployment Assistance In 2020
In addition to tremendous increases in the number of workers claiming state UI benefits, millions of workers became newly eligible for unemployment benefits, were eligible for additional weeks of benefits, and received higher benefit payments than they would under longstanding UI programs as a result of the CARES Act. The CARES Act, enacted in March 2020, established three programs targeted at jobless workers:
- Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation grants thirteen additional weeks of UI to workers eligible for state unemployment benefits who are still jobless when they exhaust their state benefits . The Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act , passed in December 2020, increased this to twenty-four weeks, but the additional eleven weeks can only be paid out in 2021.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance allows traditionally ineligible workers to access up to thirty-nine weeks of unemployment benefits . This includes self-employed workers, part-time workers, and low-wage earners, as well as workers unable to work for COVID-19-related reasons .
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation added $600 per week to unemployment benefit payments for seventeen weeks between April and July 2020. The last FPUC benefits were paid out the week ending July 26, and Congress did not extend the program in 2020. The CAUW Act reinstated the FPUC program for the 11 weeks between January and mid-March 2021, but at only $300 per week.
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What You Should Know
Unemployment Benefits Extended 13 Weeks:
Pennsylvanians who have an expired Unemployment Compensation claim or have exhausted their benefits under an existing claim can receive an additional 13 weeks of benefits through the new Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.
Under the new program, if an individual has an open claim and exhausts their benefits, the additional 13 weeks will be automatically added to their existing claim. If a claimants benefits have expired, they must submit an application for the extended benefit online or mail a paper application.
Benefits will be available retroactive to the benefit week ending April 4. The extended benefits will be available through December 26 for claimants who have exhausted regular benefits.
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Eligibility Requirements For Unemployment Compensation
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry is responsible for distribution of UI benefits it determines the eligibility and amount of these on a case-by-case basis. Claimants must meet the following requirements to be eligible for UI compensation in Pennsylvania:
- They must show they lost their job through no fault of their own.
- Their past earnings must meet a specific minimum threshold.
- They must show availability to work and actively seek employment while receiving UI benefits.
Pennsylvania calculates a recipient’s earnings through a base period, which equals the first four of five complete calendar quarters before they file for benefits. For example, if an applicant filed a claim in October 2020, the base period would be between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020. During this period, claimants must have earned all of the following to be eligible:
- A minimum of $116 a week during at least 18 weeks in the base period.
- A minimum of $1,688 during the base period’s highest quarter.
- A minimum of $3,391 in overall wages during the base period.
How Long Do You Have To File For Unemployment
Though you must file your unemployment claim straight away, its up to you when you wish to start the claim. You may feel like waiting the next quarter to get an elevated rate. You know you will be out of work all winter and want to wait until then to file your claim. Or you may have some other reasons. But you should recognize that you may not be able to go back and claim the weeks you were away from work and did not claim. You must also be aware that you dont pass your benefit year end. If there is an addition, you may be hurting yourself.
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What Documents And Information Are Necessary To Apply For Unemployment Benefits In Pa
To successfully apply for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania, interested UC petitioners are required to provide several types of documents and information that will support their UC claim. Regardless of whether you are using a paper or online application for unemployment in PA, you must submit:
- Your Pennsylvania state ID card or a drivers license.
- Your Social Security card.
- Your contact information, such as your phone number, email address, mailing address and residential address.
- Your personal information, such as your date of birth, gender, ethnicity and race.
- Your recent employment history, such as your employers contact information, the dates of your employments and the reason you were dismissed.
The above list is not all-inclusive, and PA claimants who are applying for UC benefits may be required to submit additional paperwork, based on their circumstances. Therefore, you must check the status of your Pennsylvania unemployment EDD application on a regular basis.
Note: Providing false information to the state Department of Labor and Industry is punishable by law.
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How Do I Get On The Extended Benefits Program
To continue receiving benefits through the EB extension, all you need to do is continue filing biweekly claims. The benefits will be automatically added to to your claim. You will also receive a determination in the mail about your EB benefits.
However, there are two differences with EB:
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Claiming Benefits Across Multiple States
If you worked and earned wages in multiple states you may be able to claim benefits from all these states relative to the income you earned. Generally you should first exhaust benefits from the state where you had the highest income and/or lived for the longest duration in the base year of figuring your claim. After which you can submit claims from the other states up to the maximum weekly benefit.
How Much Will I Receive In Benefits
As with qualifying wages, states make use of a variety of methods to determine a workers weekly benefit amount. Pennsylvania utilizes High Quarter Method for computing weekly benefits. More than half of the states decide the weekly benefit amount by using the base period quarter in which wages were maximum. This quarter is viewed as the phase most nearly reflecting fulltime work for the worker. By dividing this amount by 13 the number of weeks in a calendar quarter the the average weekly wage is computed. Depending on the percentage of the weekly wage the state intends to substitute, the weekly wage is divided and weekly benefit is calculated.
For instance, a worker who earns $2600 in the high quarter has average weekly earnings of $200 a week . If the state substitutes ½ of the average weekly earnings, the weekly benefit amount is $100. To make the calculations simpler, states determine the overall multiple of the high quarter wages to decide the weekly benefit amount.
The minimum weekly benefit amount for Pennsylvania is $78 and the range of maximum is $573 $581.
The minimum wages required for maximum WBA for highest quarter is $14,898 and for base period is $22,840.
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The Pa Unemployment Extension
*** Emergency unemployment compensation, a federally sponsored scheme for additional weekly benefits remains expired as on 28th Dec 2013. EUC is currently not available in any state***
Extended Unemployment Benefits are obtainable to workers who have worn out regular unemployment insurance benefits all through periods of high unemployment.
Online filing for Unemployment Extension Benefits can now be lengthened throughout 2012 via web at Unemployment-Extension.Org, with Pennsylvania as the state to receive benefits for a full 99 weeks.
While unemployment extension benefits differ from state to state, the average amount received by a laid off is $298 per week. The current maximum time a person can obtain unemployment checks in Pennsylvania is 99 weeks. Thats just less than 2 years.
Congress has approved legislation continuing federal extended unemployment benefits through the end of the year. On the other hand, there will be a gradual decrease in the maximum weeks of benefits from 99 weeks to 73 weeks in high unemployment states and 63 weeks in the states with a lesser unemployment rate.
There are no modifications to state unemployment benefits. Unemployed workers will still be entitled for up to 26 weeks of state unemployment compensation.
Before you move on to the FAQs, watch this video to know if you qualify
Below are some of the FAQs as well as the solutions put forward by members of the public:
Do You Qualify For Unemployment In Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, there are two basic requirements you must meet to be eligible for benefits. First, you must have earned a minimum amount during the base period: the first four of the five completed calendar quarters before you filed for benefits. Second, you must be out of work involuntarily, for reasons that are not your fault.
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Do You Owe Taxes On Unemployment Benefits
Yes, unemployment checks are taxable income. If you received unemployment benefits in 2021, you will owe income taxes on that amount. Your benefits may even raise you into a higher income tax bracket, though you shouldnt worry too much about getting into a higher tax bracket.
People who file for unemployment have the option to have income taxes withheld from their unemployment checks, and many do. If you elected to do this, you have little to worry about.
What if you didnt choose to have income taxes withheld from your unemployment checks? Dont panic. If you were employed during much of the year, you may simply see a reduced tax return or a very small tax bill when you file.
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When Can I Receive Unemployment Compensation Under What Reasons Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits How Do You Qualify For Unemployment
The only valid reason to obtain UC benefits is when you are laid off because of lack of work. Lack of work may be due to loss or orders, plant closing etc. In case you are fired or quit, a determination will have to be made to decide your eligibility to collect unemployment benefits. You must also be monetarily eligible, meaning that you must have a valid work history throughout your base year.
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Filing An Unemployment Claim In Pennsylvania What To Do What You Need To Know
By: Special to the Capital-Star– August 19, 2020 12:01 pm
The Department of Labor and Industrys unemployment webpage.
PITTSBURGH As of Aug. 8, there were more than 133,000 unemployment claims in the Pittsburgh metro area. That is down from a high of nearly 200,000 claims in mid-May, but the region is still experiencing historic levels of unemployment not seen since the collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s. In June, the unemployment rate in the Pittsburgh region was 12.5 percent. It hasnt been that high since 1983.
With so many Pittsburghers and Pennsylvanians out of work during the pandemic, Pittsburgh City Paper has some helpful advice for people applying for unemployment claims. Unemployment insurance is federal money provided to those recently laid off. Both laid-off employees and gig workers who have lost income during the pandemic can qualify.
Ten days ago, President Donald Trump signed an executive order providing an extra $300 per week in federal unemployment assistance with another $100 a week kicked in by states.
Do I qualify for unemployment?
Employees who have been laid-off or had hours cut due to the pandemic are eligible for unemployment. Employees must have sufficient qualifying wages of $116 per week during at least 18 weeks in the base period, at least $1,688 during the highest quarter in your base period, and earned at least $3,391 in total wages during the base period. Remember to use your gross wages, not take-home pay, when applying.
How To Appeal A Denial Of Unemployment Benefits In Pennsylvania
If your claim for unemployment is denied, you have 15 days to appeal the decision. Your appeal must be in writing and mailed or emailed to the DLI to the address listed in the notice of denial.
After receiving your appeal request, a hearing will be scheduled before an administrative official called a Referee. The Referee will receive evidence from both you and your employer and issue a written decision. If you disagree with the Referee’s decision, you may appeal to the Board of Review by the date stated in the Referee’s notice of decision. If you disagree with the Board’s decision, you have 30 days to appeal to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.
The DLI provides additional information on the unemployment process at its website .
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Q: What Is Unemployment Compensation
A: Unemployment compensation is a government benefits program that protects workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own from imminent financial hardships. People who qualify to receive unemployment compensation get a weekly check and help finding a new job. Most people receiving unemployment compensation receive about Â½ of what they earned at their job. However, you may receive more money if you have a dependant spouse or child. Unemployment compensation usually can last for up to 26 weeks. However, your unemployment compensation benefits can end after 16 weeks, or you can be denied benefits altogether, if you didnt work enough in the previous year.
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Supplemental Unemployment Insurance Benefits During The Coronavirus Pandemic
The CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan established the following supplemental unemployment insurance programs during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program aimed to provide qualifying unemployment insurance claimants with a supplemental $300-$600 per week in addition to their state unemployment insurance benefits. The program expired on September 6, 2021.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation sought to provide 24 weeks of extended unemployment insurance benefits to recipients who have exhausted their standard benefits. The program expired on September 6, 2021.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
The federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program aimed to provide individuals who are out of work but ineligible for standard unemployment insurance benefits with $300-$600 in weekly compensation. Qualifying individuals included workers who are not eligible for standard benefits, such as independent contractors and self-employed workers, as well as individuals who have exhausted their standard benefits, extended benefits, or PEUC benefits. The program expired on September 6, 2021.
- Lost Wages Assistance
- Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation
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How Much Might I Get
Typically, the amount of unemployment compensation you receive is tied to how much money you made while you were working. For those making the highest quarterly base wage or less, your weekly benefit is roughly half your full-time weekly wage.
If your income fluctuated during your base period, you can calculate your weekly benefit by looking at your earnings from the base period in which you had the highest income. That quarters weekly earnings determine your unemployment compensation benefits.
The Department of Labor & Industry publishes financial charts detailing the weekly benefit that applies to different levels of income.
You can receive a small supplement to your weekly benefit if you have a dependent spouse and/or children. Youll get $5 per week for a dependent spouse and $3 for one dependent child. If you dont have a dependent spouse, you can receive $5 for the first dependent child and $3 for a second. Theres a weekly maximum of $8 for this supplement.
The minimum weekly benefit amount you can receive is $68, and the maximum is $580.
Again, the amount you receive may change if benefits are expanded during a major economic downturn.