Losing a job can be very frustrating especially when it’s no fault of yours. A circumstance beyond one’s control can make it so – Covid-19 is a perfect example of such situations.
What most people ask when they lose their job is “how do I file for unemployment”? And while there is a simple answer to this, we’ve narrowed it down to address unemployment in PA.
This article will help residents of PA to understand how to file for unemployment, the requirement they need to file it, and the eligibility they must meet to be able to file for unemployment in PA.
Additionally, we will also look at the benefits you are eligible for if you meet all the requirements, and how you can calculate your benefit and so much more.
What is an Unemployment Claim?
According to Investopedia, the term unemployment claim refers to the request for cash benefits made by an individual after they are laid off from their job. Claims are filed through state governments, in this case, through the PA unemployment office for temporary payments after people lose their jobs through no fault of their own.
An unemployment claim is a request for monetary compensation made by an employee after being laid off or for other circumstances covered by the law, such as the COVID-19 epidemic.
Unemployed PA residents who lose their jobs due to no fault of their own may be eligible for unemployment compensation.
PA state pays unemployment insurance by collecting payments from employers, while the federal government covers administrative expenditures.
Individuals who are eligible for benefits can get up to 26 weeks of payments if they file regular claims.
Unemployment payments for people who were laid off during the COVID-19 outbreak will expire on September 5, 2021.
How do I file for Unemployment Online in PA?
You can file for unemployment online in PA by going to their official website. Be careful to ensure that you don’t click on a fraudulent website. Remember, no one will ask for your bank or card details.
To get started you will need the documents below:
- Home address and mailing address (if different)
- Telephone number
- Valid email
- Keystone ID and Password, if available
- Direct deposit bank information (optional) – bank name, address, account and routing number.
However, there are times where additional information might be needed. For a complete list, view our requirements checklist.
Information about Separating Employer:
- Employer’s name, address and phone number
- Employer’s PA UC account number (if known)
- First and last day worked with employer
- Reason for leaving
- Pension or severance package information (if applicable)
Tools to help you file for Unemployment in PA
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- A resource to help answer any questions you may have about filing or receiving unemployment compensation benefits, including eligibility, how your weekly benefit is calculated and more.
- Self-service Step-by-step Instructions
- These step-by-step guides and instructions will guide you through many UC online services, including how to file an initial claim, how to file a biweekly claim, and more.
You should file your UC initial claim application using one of the following methods:
- Online: An online application can be filed using our secure website 7 days a week, 24 hours a day
- Telephone: An application can be filed on the statewide unemployment compensation toll-free number at 1-888-313-7284.
- Videophone service: For individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL), 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.
We will look at the eligibility requirement you must meet and the benefits therein if you meet the eligibility status.
These resources can help you decide if you may be eligible:
We cannot say for certain if you are eligible, ineligible, or what your repayment maybe until you file an initial application. Your eligibility will ultimately be based on the information provided by you and your employer(s).
Unemployment benefits are calculated as a percentage of your average pay over a recent 52-week period. Here’s how you can calculate your weekly benefit rate.
If you are eligible for benefits, you should receive your first benefit payment within four weeks after the effective date of your application, provided you file your weekly certifications on time.
Moving forward, you’ll receive a payment within two to three days after filing your weekly certification.
The following are the steps you must follow to get or file for unemployment in PA.
1. File Initial Application
If you file online, you’ll receive a confirmation page at the end of the online application AND a confirmation email. This email will include the date you will need to file your continued claim — also called your weekly certification.
No matter what day of the week you submit your initial claim, it will be effective on Sunday. Your initial claim will remain active for one year and between 18 and 26 full weeks of benefit payments will be available if you are eligible for benefits (see the calculation of weekly benefit rate explanation).
2. Receive Claim Confirmation Letter via your UC Dashboard Communication Preference
Your 4-digit PIN will only be necessary to file your weekly claim if you file via the PA Teleclaims (PAT).
3. File Weekly Certification
You will file weekly certifying your eligibility for each week separately. For UC purposes, a week is a calendar week that begins Sunday and ends Saturday.
You’ll file online or using PA Teleclaims (PAT) by calling 888-255-4728.
It can take several weeks to receive the approval of your first weekly certification if there is a UC eligibility issue with your employment. You should continue to file weekly certifications during this time.
Moving forward, you’ll receive a payment within two to three days after filing your weekly certification. If you file on:
- Sunday = funds available by Tuesday
- Monday = funds available by Wednesday
- Tuesday = funds available by Thursday
- Wednesday = funds available by Friday
- Thursday = funds available by Monday
- Friday or Saturday = funds available by Tuesday
Note: Payments may be delayed if there is an eligibility issue that must be resolved before payment can be made.
Don’t forget to file your weekly certification or you could lose your benefits.
4. Receive Financial Determination Letter
Keep this letter in a safe place. It states your financial eligibility. Financial determination letters are typically received within 3 business days via your UC Dashboard communication preference.
The financial determination letter will tell you:
- Your benefit year begin date AND the date your benefit year expires.
- Your weekly benefit amount and eligible weeks AND how they were calculated.
- How much you will receive if you are totally unemployed and how to estimate your partial benefits for part-time work.
5. Claim Issues
If there is an issue with your claim, you will be asked to contact our team by the system. Please do so via your UC dashboard. For specific questions about your claim, provide your full name (as it appears on your claim, including any suffix used) and the last four digits of your Social Security Number and submit via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is the Unemployment Insurance Meant for?
It’s meant for everyone eligible for it. Such person or a number of persons must be a resident of Pennsylvania. He or she must also be unemployed, must have worked in Pennsylvania during the past 12 months or more in some cases.
Additionally, such a person must have earned a minimum amount of wages determined by Pennsylvania guidelines. He or she must also actively seek employment while collecting the benefit.
How Much does PA Unemployment Benefit Pay?
Wages are usually one-half of your full-time wage.
However, If the weekly benefit rate shown on your Notice of Financial Determination is not one-half of your gross full-time weekly wage, and your rate is not the highest benefit rate on the Rate and Amount of UC Benefits chart, you may qualify for a higher weekly benefit rate.
You will need to file an appeal, and so on time if you want your benefit calculated based on your full-time wage. This appeal will be addressed to the Notice of Financial Determination.
You must also obtain a redetermination from the UC service center.
How does PA Unemployment Insurance Calculate Benefits?
Each individual’s UC claim is usually based on his or her earnings while with the employer, or several employers as the case may be.
Such an employer would be referred to as “base year employer”. What it means to be a base employer is that you’d be responsible for the unemployment claim.
Additionally, it means that as the base employer, your wages were paid to that UC claimant on a date within the bass year.
Benefits claims are calculated by using the earnings a claimant is eligible for during the year of the claim.
A base year of a UC claim is a year.
If you’ve read to this point, then you would have understood how to file for unemployment in PA, and the requirements you must fulfill to be able to do so.
How can I estimate my weekly benefit rate for unemployment compensat
Why is there 1.7/2.4 percent benefit reduction of weekly benefits?
The PA UC Law contains a provision to automatically adjust benefit payments when the balance in the UC Trust Fund is low. Benefit payments for compensable weeks prior to Jan. 6, 2018, were reduced by 1.7 percent.