Unemployment Information

Eligibility

Eligibility criteria for Unemployment Compensation changed due to COVID-19. The Department of Labor and Industry has a FAQ Page, which addresses the changes.

What will you need when filing for unemployment:

  • Social Security number
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Employer name, address, phone/fax, and email.
  • Having the employer’s UC account number is helpful but not necessary
  • First and last dates you worked for this employer
  • Gross earnings during your last week of employment
  • Reason you’re not working or are working reduced hours.

Filing Your Claim

If this is your first claim you will receive:

  • Your Claim Confirmation Letter, which will contain your confidential Personal Identification Number (PIN). The PIN is very important. You need it for your biweekly claims. Instructions for biweekly claims are on this letter too.
  • A Financial Determination letter, which you should review carefully. If any information is incorrect, contact the service center ASAP. If you disagree with the financial determination, consult the instructions on the reverse side of the form to file an appeal.

Quick Tips on Filing

WHO SHOULD BE FILING FOR UNEMPLOYMENT?​

  • You are not unemployed if you receive a regular salary, even if you are not working.
  • Only individuals who are working less and are receiving less pay are considered unemployed.​

​DON’T CALL OR ASK ABOUT ELIGIBILITY,
JUST FILE.

  • We cannot say for certain if you are eligible, ineligible, or what your repayment may be until you open a claim.
  • Please do not call the service center to ask general questions before opening your claim.
  • Our UC Guide will help you decide if you should file and to help you through the process. We will reach out if we need more information and you’ll receive an eligibility determination.

​WHEN SHOULD YOU BE OPENING A CLAIM?

  • You should be opening a claim on the Sunday – Saturday of the week when your hours are actually reduced or eliminated. Opening a claim earlier will result in delays.

​THE NAME YOU FILE WITH

  • Be sure to file with your name as it appears on your Social Security Card, the Social Security Administration also reviews claims and if your name doesn’t match, we have to conduct a manual review which could result in delays.

​EXPECTED DATE OF RETURN TO WORK?

  • ​If you do not have an expected date of return, select “No” to the written notice question and do not fill in a date. 

​ABLE AND AVAILABLE?

  • Being quarantined at home or otherwise confined to home does not necessarily mean you are not available to accept work. 
  • IF you could conceivably accept some type of work – such as work from home jobs – you can consider yourself available.  “Able” refers to physically being able.

EMPLOYER SEPARATION – WHAT TO ENTER FOR COVID-19?

  • If your employer reduced your hours partially or completely, that is a lack of work.
  • If your hours have been reduced or completely cut and you are no longer being paid as much as you were, do not choose “still employed.”  Any reduction in hours is simply a lack of work or layoff.

​NATURALIZED OR AUTHORIZED WORKER?​

Make sure you send the front & back of your Social Security Card and Employment (Work) Authorization Document within 14 calendar days.

Email to greencard@pa.gov with the email subject as: Your First & Last Name; or

Mail to:

651 Boas Street
Central Office, Room 625
Attn: Jen M. Harrisburg, PA 17121

Biweekly Claims

​Go online or call the Pennsylvania Teleclaims-PAT system at 888-255-4728

Biweekly Claim Note 

If you receive this message:

“You currently have a claim established; however, it is inactive. If you wish to reactivate or reopen your claim in order to file for benefits, you may do so online or by calling your UC Service Center at 1-888-313-7284.”Don’t start a new claim! Just try to activate the next day. Call us if you keep having the problem.

Self-Employed Workers

Some people who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment compensation may be under the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. This may provide financial assistance to individuals who are self-employed, contractors, gig workers and others. Benefits ranging from $195 to $572 will be available for up to 39 weeks to qualifying individuals who are unable to work due to COVID-19. File here

Payments are backdated to January 27 or the first week the individual was unable to work due to COVID-19. Individuals collecting PUA benefits will also be eligible for the extra $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Program.

The PUA system is separate from the existing Unemployment Compensation system. If an individual has any W-2 wages from other employment, they should first apply for benefits through the state’s Unemployment Compensation program.

Quick Tips for Applying for PUA

WHO SHOULD BE FILING FOR PUA?

Check out our “How do I know if I should apply for PUA?” FAQ for information on eligibility. 

​WHAT DOCUMENTATION DO I NEED TO SHOW I WAS EMPLOYED OR SELF-EMPLOYED?

Acceptable documentation of proof of employment or self-employment can include, but is not limited to: 

  • copies of recent paycheck stubs;
  • bank receipts showing deposits;
  • 1099s;
  • billing notices provided to your customers;
  • recent advertisements for your business or services;
  • statements from recent customers;
  • current business licenses, ledgers, contracts, invoices; and/or
  • building leases.

WHAT DOCUMENTATION DO I NEED TO SHOW MY PREVIOUS INCOME?

Acceptable documentation of wages can include but is not limited to:

  • tax returns;
  • paycheck stubs;
  • bank receipts;
  • ledgers;
  • contracts;
  • invoices; and/or
  • billing statements.

​WHAT DOCUMENTATION DO I NEED TO PROVIDE TO SHOW COVID-19 IS THE REASON I CAN’T WORK?

​Acceptable documentation to substantiate COVID-19 reason for inability to work can include but is not limited to:

  • Documentation from medical professionals regarding diagnosis or isolation instructions for you or a person in your home
  • Notices or emails from school or childcare providers
  • Notices or emails from county or state government regarding closure of businesses or stay at home orders
  • Notices or emails from entities for which you were contracting stating that your services are not needed due to COVID-19 related shutdowns
  • If filing due to a job offer being cancelled or delayed, documentation from the prospective employer that includes start date, hours, and pay of the job offer that has been cancelled or delayed

Employers

Shared-Work program: A solution to keep your employees but temporarily reduce work hours. Employees would get partial unemployment benefits. Contact: sharedwork@pa.gov.

Rapid Response Assistance Program: Available to assist you if your business is closed or in financial danger. There are a variety of services and resources to help you and your employees. Contact: RA-LI-BWPO-Rapid@pa.gov.

PA Department of Community and Economic Development: Small business loans and more. 

Small Business Administration: Loans and other programs

Please contact our office if you have any problems:

If you run into trouble contacting unemployment for your initial claim, haven’t received a PIN, or filed a Bi-Weekly claim and it hasn’t been activated yet, contact us at:

  • Sabatina@PASenate.com
  • Academy Rd Office: 215.281.2539
  • Bustleton Ave Office: 215.620.1020
  • Harrisburg Office: 717.787.9608