Am I eligible to receive benefits?
You must be totally or partially unemployed through no fault of your own, and you must have earned sufficient wages in your base period (the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters before the start date of your claim, or alternatively the last 4 quarters). Also, you must be able and available for full-time work.
How do I apply for benefits in Pennsylvania?
You can apply online at https://www.paclaims.state.pa.us/UCEN/Welcome.asp, or over the phone. You may also download a paper application to mail or fax here http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=921889&mode=2.
How much will I receive?
You weekly benefit rate will be determined based upon your wages in your base year. The quarter in which you were paid the most money will determine your Weekly Benefit Rate.Your weekly benefit rate should equal about one-half of your full-time weekly wage.For an estimate, use the Department of Labor and Industry's Rate and Amount of Benefits Chart http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1050899&mode=2.
How long will I receive these benefits?
Your maximum benefit amount is determined by the number of credit weeks (a calendar week in your base year when you earned wages of $50 or more) in your base year. If you have 18 or more credit weeks, your maximum benefit amount is 26 times your weekly benefit rate. If you have 16 or 17 credit weeks, your maximum benefit amount is 16 times your weekly benefit rate. If you have less than 16 credit weeks, you are not financially eligible for benefits.
After I start receiving benefits, what do I have to do to remain eligible?
You must continually file for benefits, either weekly or bi-weekly (every two weeks), and you must continue to be able and available for full-time work. Also, you must register with the Pennsylvania Careerlink System, and you must actively seek employment after your second consecutive week of benefits, while keeping a record of your work search activities.
To be actively seeking work in Pennsylvania, during your third consecutive week of your benefit year until your eighth consecutive week, you must apply to at least 2 positions that are similar in scope to your normal wages and employment position and are within a generally acceptable commuting distance in your area. From your ninth consecutive week and beyond, you must apply to at least 3 positions, and you may be required to accept any suitable work that you are able to perform. If you apply to more than the required number of jobs in a given week, you need not do more. However, if you only apply to the minimum number required in a given week, you must also do one of the 7 activities listed in Part 2 here http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=830896&mode=2#1.
I was turned down for benefits. How do I appeal this decision?
You must appeal within 15 days of the mailing date of the decision for denial. You can find a further explanation of the appeals process, and a petition for appeal form, here http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=961521&mode=2. Also, you must keep filing your weekly claims regularly because you will only be paid for weeks you filed if you win your appeal.
For more information on Pennsylvania's unemployment insurance laws: