Rules For Unemployment Compensation Tax Liability
Unlike other states, Pennsylvania UC law does not have a minimum amount of wages that must be paid for an employer to be liable for UC tax. Instead, it is assumed that typical employers will be liable simply if they have an employee. By contrast, under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act , typical for-profit employers are liable for FUTA taxes if, during the current or preceding calendar year, they either:
- paid wages of $1,500 or more in any calendar quarter, or
- had one or more employees at any time in each of twenty calendar weeks.
Different rules, not covered here, apply to agricultural workers, domestic workers, and employees of some non-profit organizations.
Am I Eligible For Unemployment Benefits
People in Pennsylvania may be eligible to receive unemployment compensation in a number of situations. According to the Office of Unemployment Compensation, those scenarios include:
If your employer has closed temporarily or otherwise due to COVID-19
If your work hours have been reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic
If youve been told by a health-care provider, doctor, or public official to quarantine or self-isolate
If your employer has told you to stay home because they are concerned that you may be at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19
Typically, you can get regular unemployment benefits if you have been laid off or had your hours reduced. However, if you are self-employed or are an independent contractor or gig worker and your work has been affected by the pandemic, you may qualify for compensation under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, even if youre not otherwise eligible for unemployment.
What To Do If Your Claim Is Denied
You can file an unemployment appeal if your claim was denied but you believe that you qualify for the UI program. You can appeal in writing or by mail. Continue to file weekly certification during the appeal process. That is because you will receive benefits for weeks you claimed if you win the appeal process.
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Wage Base And Tax Rates
UC tax is paid on each employee’s wages up to a maximum annual amount. That amount, known as the taxable wage base, currently is set to increase by $250 per year in Pennsylvania at least until 2018. The wage base recently has been at or above $9,000 and in 2018 will hit $10,000.
Unlike other states, Pennsylvania’s UC tax requires withholding employee contributions along with direct payments by the employer. In recent years, the employee withholding rate has been .07%. However, that amount is subject to change. The taxable wage base does not apply to employee contributions.
The state UC tax rate for new employers, also known as the standard beginning tax rate, can change from one year to the next. In recent years, it has been 3.6785% for most new employers. New employers in the construction industry, however, are subject to a significantly higher beginning rate. Established employers are subject to a lower or higher rate than new employers depending on an “experience rating.” This means, among other things, whether your business has ever had any employees who made claims for state unemployment benefits.
You can find current and historical information about wage bases and tax rates in the UC Tax Rates section of the DLI website.
How Can I Apply
You should file a claim for unemployment compensation in the first week youre out of work.
You can also file a claim by calling 1-888-313-7284 or by mailing a paper application.
If you communicate only using American Sign Language, you can file an unemployment claim using Pennsylvanias videophone service on Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. Eastern time.
No matter how you file your claim, youll want to have the following information handy:
- Social Security number
- Your former employers name, address and phone number
- First and last day you worked with that employer
- Reason for leaving your job
- Bank account information if you want to receive payments by direct deposit
- Pension or severance package information, if you have them
Be careful that the name you use to file a claim matches the way your name appears on your Social Security card. A mismatch could delay your claim.
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Will I Have To Pay Taxes On My Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment insurance is taxable income and must be reported on your IRS federal income tax return. This includes the federally funded enhanced extended benefits provided in 2020 and 2021. Your local state unemployment agency will send you form 1099-G to file with your tax return . This form is sent in late January and outlines the amount of benefits paid to you during the previous year. You can choose to withhold income tax during the year with 10 percent being the maximum generally allowed.
Benefit Options For Wages In More Than One State
If you worked in more than one state during your base period as defined in Eligibility & Benefit Amounts:
- You can apply for benefits in any state where you have base period wages. The state you choose will become your paying state. See Potential Benefit Amounts and Contact Information by State below.
- You may either:
- Ask the paying state to combine all of your wages in a single unemployment benefits claim. If you combine wages, you can only receive benefits from one state. If you earned enough wages in your paying state to qualify for the maximum benefit amount, then the paying state will not combine wages from other states on your claim.
- Use only the wages earned in the paying state. Then based upon the law and base period provisions of the other states where you have wages, you may be able to use those other state wages to apply for benefits in the future.
The paying state will process your unemployment benefits application according to the rules of that state. The paying state asks the other state to transfer your wage records. The paying state can then determine if you earned enough wages after combining wages from other states to qualify for benefits under that states laws.
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How Can I Qualify For Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefits
To be eligible for PA unemployment benefits, you must meet these requirements.
- Lost your job through no fault of your own This includes being laid off for lack of work. Getting fired for willful misconduct, including breaking employer rules, absenteeism without a valid reason, or drug and alcohol abuse are grounds for losing eligibility. If you voluntarily quit your job, you may still be eligible for unemployment compensation. Youll have to show that you quit after repeated attempts to keep your job, and that you left for a compelling reason such as health issues, transportation problems or a significant change in job responsibilities.
- Been steadily employed over the previous year This means you must have earned wages of at least $116 per week in at least 18 weeks of what the department terms your base year. The base year is the first four quarters of the most recent five completed quarters. For example, if you had filed your claim in March 2020, your base year would have been October 2018 through September 2019. But, if you had filed a claim in April 2020, your base year would have been the full year of 2019.
Once youre approved for benefits and start receiving them, heres what youll have to do to maintain your eligibility.
- Be able and willing to work
- Be actively looking for a job
- Keep a record of your efforts to find a job
- While there may be some exceptions, youll generally have to register with the employment search organization Pennsylvania Careerlink
How To Apply For Unemployment Benefits In Pennsylvania
It’s best to file a claim for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania online, but you may also do so by phone or mail. You must supply basic information about yourself, your employer, and your work and earnings histories.
If your claim is denied, all is not necessarily lost. You can file an appeal of the unemployment denial, arguing that you should have been awarded benefits.
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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
Timeline Of Unemployment Insurance Program In Pennsylvania
The following timeline features selected key events in the history of Pennsylvania’s unemployment insurance program. The timeline is not a comprehensive history of the state unemployment insurance program.
- 1938: As of May 1, 1938, Pennsylvania’s unemployment insurance program offered a maximum weekly benefit amount of $15 for up to 13 weeks.
- 1985: As of January 1, 1985, Pennsylvania’s unemployment insurance program offered a maximum WBA of $224 for up to 26 weeks.
- 2021: A March 2021 report from the U.S. Department of Labor found that the trust funds in 40 states and territories, including Pennsylvania, had dropped below the recommended minimum solvency standard as of January 1, 2021.
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File An Initial Application
You should file your UC application for benefits using one of the following methods:
- Online An online application can be filed using our secure website 7 days a week, 24 hours
- Telephone An application can be filed on the statewide unemployment compensation toll-free number at 1-888-313-7284.
- For claimants filing a NEW claim: If you are filing for benefits for the first time, you need to contact the UC Service Center and let them know youll need to file by phone in the future. The UC Service Center will file an initial application and provide you a PIN number to use while filing over the phone in the future.
- Videophone service For individuals who use American Sign Language videophone service is available every Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. at 717-704-8474. Sign language is the ONLY means of communication provided through the Videophone.
Unemployment Benefits By State 2022
Unemployment is defined as those who are jobless, have actively looked for a job within the last four weeks, and are available for work. The unemployment rate measures unemployment as the number of unemployed people as a percentage of a populations labor force. Unemployment is a key economic indicator and can be a sign of economic turmoil. If someone is not actively looking for work, they are not included in the unemployment rate. This means that individuals who retire, go back to school, or leave the workforce to raise. Family or take care of relatives is not counted in the unemployment rate.
As of January 2020, the unemployment rate is 6.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The natural rate of unemployment is between 3.5% and 4.5%. Unemployment rates vary significantly by state.
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State Benefits Comparison Chart The Following Comparison Data Provides An Overview Of Benefits And Shows Which States Pay Well:
Note The benefit amount you would receive depends on factors like your wages in your base period, number of dependents, and the wages you earn while collecting UI benefits . Use the benefits calculator to determine your estimated Weekly Benefit Amount .
States That Pay The Highest And Lowest Unemployment Insurance Compensation
States That Pay The Lowest Unemployment Insurance Compensation
States That Provide Unemployment Compensation For A Longer And Shorter Duration
States That Provide Unemployment Compensation For A Shorter Duration
Understanding Your Base Period And Benefit Year
The amount of UI benefits you may be eligible to receive is determined by wages paid to you during either your primary or alternate base period. The base period is defined by Massachusetts law.
Primary base period
The primary base period is the last 4 completed calendar quarters prior to the effective date of your claim . For most claimants, the primary base period is used to calculate your maximum benefit credit, which is the total amount of benefits you are eligible to receive.
Alternate base period
The alternate base period is the last 3 completed calendar quarters and the period of time between the last completed quarter and the effective date of your claim. The alternate base period can only be used if:
- You don’t meet the minimum eligibility requirements using the primary base period
- Using the alternate base period will increase your maximum benefit credit by 10% or more
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Can I Collect Partial Unemployment In Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania allows you to work while collecting unemployment benefits. Its called a partial benefit credit, and you receive a portion of your eligible weekly benefit amount based on the income you earned each week. You must report your earnings to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry during your biweekly certification process based on the relevant sources of income, according to state law.
If COVID-19 has affected your job, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Head to the Department of Labor’s website for updates, and check out careeronestop to learn how to file for unemployment in your state.
You may also be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance , which is now available to individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for unemployment benefits
Unemployment Benefits By State
A note about this table: The information in this table is up to date at the time of publication. We regularly review this information for accuracy. However, each state maintains its unemployment insurance program and details do change from time to time. We link to each states employment bureau where you can find the most up to date information.
Additionally, this table lists the maximum unemployment insurance benefits you can receive. Not all workers will receive the maximum benefit. Benefits are often based on your previous salary, if or when you previously claimed unemployment compensation, and how long you have been working. Each state may also have additional rules regarding whether or not you are out of work through no fault of your own, whether or not you receive any additional income from employment or side gigs, or whether or not you receive additional income from a pension or retirement benefits.
|Wyoming Department of Workforce Services||307-473-3789|
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When Do My Benefits End
Youre eligible to claim unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks possibly longer if theyre extended because of a major economic crisis.
Under normal circumstances, this period could be shorter if you didnt work for at least half of your base year.
To keep receiving benefits, youll need to make a claim every other week. These claims will include information on any earnings you received, potential earnings you turned down and jobs you applied for.
Generally, starting with your third week of unemployment, you must apply for two jobs and participate in a work-search activity each week.
You could lose your eligibility for benefits if you work part-time and limit your hours, fail to respond to unemployment office inquiries or dont fulfill your job search requirements.
S Of Calculating Weekly Benefits:
Pennsylvania uses the high quarter method to calculate the weekly benefit amounts.
High-Quarter Method: This quarter is viewed as the period most nearly reflecting fulltime work for the worker. By dividing this sum by 13- the number of weeks in a calendar quarter-the average weekly wage is computed. Depending on the percentage of the weekly wage in the state intends to substitute, the weekly wage is divided and the weekly benefit is computed.
Method of calculating and formula for Pennsylvania is:
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Potential Benefit Amounts And Contact Information By State
The following table shows the minimum and maximum weekly unemployment benefit amounts and contact information for unemployment benefits in each state. States may change their benefit amounts at any time, so amounts included here may not be current.
To apply for unemployment benefits, find the state where you worked, then go to that states web site or call the number listed in the table.
To apply for benefits from the Virgin Islands, call us at 800-939-6631. We will take your application by phone and send it on your behalf.
|State or Territory|
Weeks Of Unemployment Insurance Available And Unemployment Rates
The remaining six states periodically update their maximum weeks of UI available based on changes in the states unemployment rate:
- Alabama currently provides up to 14 weeks of UI for new enrollees, with an additional five-week extension for those enrolled in a state-approved training program
- Georgia provides 14 weeks of UI, but in the COVID-19 emergency that has been increased to 26 weeks
- Florida currently provides up to 12 weeks for claims filed after January 1, 2022
- Idaho currently provides up to 20 weeks for new enrollees based on its November unemployment rate
- Kansas currently provides up to 16 weeks of UI and
- North Carolina currently provides up to 12 weeks for claims filed after January 1, 2022.
State laws in many states with a maximum of 26 weeks employ a sliding scale based on a workers earnings history to determine the maximum number of weeks for which an individual worker qualifies. Except in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico, many UI recipients maximum is fewer than 26 weeks.
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