Pennsylvania Unemployment – Know Your Rights

  Last Verified: February 2017  

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry administers the state’s unemployment insurance system, assisting workers who lost their job through no fault of their own. Recently, potential matters of mismanagement caused the state auditors to investigate the department’s use of funds over the past year. The state’s funding issues forced the closing of several service centers and the dismissal of half the service force.

While the state claims to have the matter under control, claimants report significant delays in service. Such delays make it important for you to develop a clear understanding of the procedures for filing an unemployment benefits claim in Pennsylvania.

This journalist has an update on the current problem.

Eligibility for Benefits in PA

To be eligible to receive benefits, you must have earned enough wages in a 12-month period from an employer covered by the state’s unemployment insurance law (a “covered employer”). If you have earned enough wages, the state will then consider whether:Get unemployment benefits in PA

  • You lost your job through no fault of your own
  • You are able and available to work
  • You are legally authorized to work in the US

Then, you have to register with the Pennsylvania Job Gateway to show you are engaged in looking for work. The Office of Unemployment Compensation (OUC) will require that you maintain your eligibility status as long as you receive benefits.

Eligibility Requirements Explained

Lost Your Job Through No Fault of Your Own

Your actions or decisions cannot cause your separation from work. If your employer moves their store or the plant shuts down, you may be eligible for a lack of work.

Able and Available

You must be physically and mentally able to work when you file your claim. You must be available to accept any offer of suitable employment. “Suitable employment” is a job similar in salary, duties and responsibilities to a job you held previously.

Legally Authorized

You must be a US citizen or be able to prove that you are allowed to work in the US (resident alien card, etc)

Wage Requirements and the Base Period

The OUC requires that you earn enough money within a 12-month period prior to your filing a claim to be eligible for benefits. The 12-month period is called the base period. It’s the first four of the last five quarters (3 month periods) prior to filing a claim.

unemployment base period

This chart shows the base period.

The OUC determines qualifications based on how much you earned during the quarter where you earned the most wages from covered employment (the “high quarter”). To be eligible, you must have earned at least 37% of your total wages in the months that weren’t your “high quarter.”

Calculating Benefit Amount

The amount the OUC distributes to you per week is the weekly benefit amount (WBA). The state will send you a Notice of Financial Determination detailing your WBA and the amounts they used to determine benefits. Your WBA should be roughly half the weekly salary during your highest quarter. Check your Notice to see if the state used your highest quarter wages to determine your WBA if your amount seems low. You may request that they use your highest quarter wages.

The OUC’s website has a chart that helps you estimate your WBA based on your wages during the base period. This table will inform you of the current maximum and minimum WBA you may receive. The current max is $561, and the minimum is $68.

Credit Weeks

A credit week is any week during your base period where you earned at least $116. You must have at least 18 credit weeks to be eligible to receive benefits. The state uses credit weeks not only to determine eligibility, but also to determine your personal maximum benefit amount. The maximum amount you may receive during the year will be your WBA X your credit weeks. No one receives more than 26.

Dependent Allowance

The state provides funds in addition to your WBA based on your dependents. You can chose a dependent spouse, or child or both, but you cannot choose more than two dependents. You may collect $5 per week for the first dependent and $3 for the second.

Claiming dependents may allow you to receive more than the max WBA. However, there is a limit to how many weeks you may collect during a benefit year (the one-year period after you file your claim).

unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania from Department of Labor

Extended Payments

You may receive benefits for more than your maximum credit weeks during times of high unemployment. Congress has in recent years provided additional funds for those unemployed to receive benefits for as many as 99 weeks. With current unemployment rates at reasonable levels, the state no longer offers Extended Benefits or Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

How to Apply for Benefits in PA

You have several options in filing for benefits in Pennsylvania. You can file online using the Online Unemployment Compensation site, via telephone or by mailing in a paper application. You can even file via videophone if you need to use sign language.

Telephone: 1-888-313-7284 (TTY services for the deaf and hard of hearing 1-888-334-4046)

The videophone service is available every Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. at 717-704-8474.

You will need to make certain information available to the OUC when you apply for benefits. This information includes:

  • Current, valid contact information, including telephone number and email
  • A Pennsylvania driver’s license or state issued ID
  • Your social security number
  • Proof of citizenship or an alien registration number
  • Current, valid contact information for your former employers
  • The starting and ending dates of your employment
  • The reason for leaving work
  • Information on any severance or vacation pay receive
  • Bank routing and account numbers if you are using direct deposit

If you worked for the federal government or military during the 18 months prior to your filing a claim, you will have to have the appropriate separation forms. You may also present a copy of your pay stubs, which may save a little time.

Filing Your Biweekly Claim and Maintaining Eligibility

The OUC requires that all benefit recipients maintain their eligibility status during the benefit year. To monitor your status, the OUC will ask that you file a claim every two weeks. This is known as filing a continuing claim, or certifying your claim. You will not receive benefit if you don’t file a claim every two weeks, even if you are eligible, unless very special circumstances apply.

You may file your claim online from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you cannot get Internet access, you can file via the Pennsylvania Teleclaims system (PAT) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 888-255-4728 (TTY services for the deaf and hard of hearing: 888-334-4046).

You will have to provide the OUC with certain information regarding your status to verify your claim. The OUC will want to know whether:

  • You continue to be able and available for work
  • You have started or quit a job during the benefit weeks
  • You have earned any wages during the benefit weeks
  • You are looking for full-time work
  • You have refused an offer of suitable employment

The state requires you to report any wages you earned during the week. You must report the wages in the benefit week when you performed the work, not when you were paid for that work.

Work Search Requirement

The state requires benefit recipients to make a good faith effort to find work. You must register with the PA Job Gateway when you first apply for benefits, your first step in finding work. To stay eligible, you must apply for two jobs per week, and in addition, complete one other “job search activity.” A job search activity could consist of:

  • Attend a job fair.
  • Search positions posted on the JobGateway® system or Internet job banks.
  • Create or post a résumé in the JobGateway® system or post a résumé in other résumé-posting services.
  • Contact colleagues, former co-workers or other individuals in similar professions or occupations to make known your availability for employment or obtain information about available positions, prospective employers or other employment opportunities.
  • Utilize an employment agency, employment registry or school placement service.
  • Take a civil service test or other pre-employment test.
  • Participate in a program or activity offered through the Pennsylvania CareerLink®

The OUC provides a form for you to use to keep track of your job search activity. You will need to keep track because the state monitors your job search and may ask to see evidence of your activity at any time. If they find you have not made a good faith effort to find work, you may lose your benefits and a right to receive full benefits in the future.

You can find information about the work search requirement in the PA Unemployment Handbook. However, if you regularly apply for work you should not be in jeopardy of losing benefits.

Waivers to the requirement

The state allows benefit recipients to waive the work search requirement upon request and approval. You must show that the requirement would be unfair or oppressive or otherwise inconsistent with the purposes of the unemployment insurance law. The waiver request form is available online.

Part-time Employment While Receiving Benefits

The state allows you to work while receiving benefits. For example, you may file a claim for benefits if your employer significantly reduces your wages (if you are otherwise eligible). You may also file if your employer dismissed you but you kept a part-time job elsewhere.

You may earn up to 30% of your WBA before you will see your benefits reduced. The state will reduce your benefits dollar-for-dollar any amount above that 30% threshold.

$200 + $60 = $260 $100 = $160
(Rounded Up)

Reductions in benefit payments

There are other factors that may affect the WBA each time to request a biweekly payment. They include:

  • Child support payments owed (requires a court or administrative order)
  • Pensions paid by a base-period employer
  • Holiday or Vacation Pay (usually occurs upon the initial payment)
  • Whether you choose to have the 10% tax deduction applied to your WBA

Pennsylvania law requires the state to reduce all benefit payments if the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund falls below a certain level. The rule became effective in 2013. With the current fund under audit, disruptions or reductions may continue. The reduction is 1.7% of the WBA after all other deductions have been taken, if any.

Reasons for Denials of Benefits

The OUC will deny benefits if you fail to meet the wage earnings requirements.  You will have the opportunity to request a redetermination of your base period wages after you receive the Notice of Financial Determination.

If you do meet the earnings requirement, the OUC will conduct an investigation into your separation from work. Issues regarding separation are the most frequent causes of a denial of benefits.

If your actions or decisions caused your separation from work, the state will deny benefits.

If you quit your job without a good cause connected to the work, the state will deny benefits. You may quit because you could not get transportation to work (and your workplace location did not change). This is not a good cause because getting to work is your responsibility. You may quit because you could not get childcare for a school age child. This is a difficult situation, but the cause for quitting is not because of something your employer did or failed to do.

If you are dismissed from your job because of a repeated violation of your employer’s policy, the state will deny benefits, especially if your employer gave you warnings regarding your conduct. Sometimes, a one-time violation of an employer’s policy may be disqualifying. Any conduct considered to show a disregard for the employer’s interests might be considered “misconduct connected to work.”

Non-separation issues

Some issues that could disqualify you from receiving benefits may not be related to the wage requirement or separation. If you are unable or unavailable to work, you may be disqualified. If you quit looking for work while you are receiving benefits, the OUC may discontinue payments.

Quit and Still Eligible

While quits are normally disqualifying, if the OUC finds you quit for a good cause, you may still be eligible to receive benefits. Your employer will have done something or failed to do something to leave you with no other choice but to leave work. Examples of this “constructive discharge” include:

The workplace moved too far to make it reasonable for you to attend work

Your employer failed to address serious safety concerns after you or others made them aware

You were asked to work without pay for a significant period

You were subject to harassment

You will have to show that you made a good faith effort to remedy the situation and keep your job.

In certain circumstances, matters not directly related to work may be a “good cause” to quit. For example, a good cause to quit would be that you had to leave home because of a domestic violence situation.

Fired and Still Eligible

In some circumstances, you may be able to show that you were fired but the reason you were fired did not amount to “misconduct connected to your work.” Being fired for a one-time violation of a policy, a mistake in judgement that doesn’t suggest recklessness or the inability to perform your duties are not likely to be judged as misconduct.

What Happens When the State Denies Benefits

You may appeal any decision issued by the OUC. You will receive information on how to file the appeal with your Notice of Determination. You will have 15 days from the mailing date of the notice in which to file the appeal.

If you are denied benefits, please visit our section on appealing benefits decision in Pennsylvania.


Read the PA Unemployment Compensation Handbook

Get information on filing a claim directly from the OUC web pages.

Read the laws that control the Unemployment Compensation system.

Stay updated on the UC fund audit and efforts to remedy the problems with local media.

Watch the OUC site for updates on delays


  • Brandon Callier

    If I do not claim unemployment for one week due to being Out of Area, will I be able to file the following week without a problem? I paid for a trip prior to being laid off and cannot be refunded. Not sure that if if do not claim that week (i.e. being honest about it) if it will somehow affect my subsequent claims.

    • You may need to call PA to REOPEN the claim or reopen online if you can’t claim future weeks when you get back. PA will ask why you did not claim that week. Your rights to future benefits are not affected in any way, but most states close the claim if one week passes without a benefit being paid. I’m not sure if PA is one of those states. I believe, in PA, claim remains open for two weeks, but am not sure.

  • Michelle

    I was right and I was let go for not being a good fit for the job. You mentioned to me that because of my quit from my previous job before this last one that if I am to apply for unemployment I would need to make 6 times what my weekly benefit would have been if not denied because of the quit, to qualify for benefits this time. Tbe amount I needed to make was $2400 and I only made $2366.35. Will this cause me to not be eligible?

  • Susan Fenton

    I have worked for a company for 8 years, One of my job requirements is to be able to lift 50 pounds, I am no longer able to lift that much weight due to back and knee issues. Would I be eligible to collect if I quit my job?

    • You first need to ask employer for accommodation in an attempt to preserve the employment relationship. If employer can’t offer you other work, only then can you quit. You will need to provide PA medical evidence of the incapacity and also statement that you can work, just not work that requires you lift 50 lbs.

  • Hi,

    I am currently collecting UC and I have been offered a job as an independent contractor. It will be sporadic in nature with no set hours. Can I suspend my benefits while working and then resume them when this job is finished? I`m afraid to jeopardize my UC benefits.

    Thanks Dan

    • Yes. You can continue to claim while collecting. Report gross earnings the week you work – not when you get paid. PA will add 30% to your weekly benefit and deduct the gross earnings from that. Any week without earnings, PA will want to know why, so benefits will be suspended until that issue is cleared. It can be a hassle to start/stop a claim or be subject to a suspension in benefits during these investigations. Be sure the job is worth it.


      You will get screwed cause your self employed. Don’t do it.

  • Mike

    I filed a claim back is September but never used it. I went back to work the next week. I reopened the claim online this month. I tried to file my biweekly claim online but it wouldn’t let me. After trying for hours I finally got a hold of uc. They told me I couldnt claim because I never signed up for careerlink. So it looks like I lost my first two weeks because I wasn’t signed up. Can I file an appeal for those weeks?

    • You can appeal it, but you won’t get the decision overturned. The states are very strict on (1) not meeting criteria and (2) paying retro weeks which are this old. If you remain unemployed long enough and there is enough time left before the benefit year expires, you can collect them.

  • anthony

    Question: Will the pa unemployment office contact you to verify information? I put an application last week and they called asking to verify information, but the first questions were date of birth and last 4 of social security. they seemed to have other information about my application, but considering they are short staffed it doesn’t seem they would be calling people. Is this normal procedure?

    • I, personally, think this is very strange, and would be very reluctant to answer any questions without having been FIRST notified to expect this call because last 4 nos. of SSN and birthdate are identifiers for so many things, but did get this response today from a contact I have in PA:

      Yes, our interviewers definitely call outbound when additional info is needed or to take rebuttal after speaking with the employer. Outbound calls are usually done on Wednesdays and Fridays as the UC call centers do not take calls on those days. PA is also in the process of recalling furlough personnel in the UC service centers, so we should be starting to get more timely with this type of stuff. The interviewer will ask for Last 4 and date of birth in an attempt to ensure they are actually speaking with the claimant.

      Since you got the call on a Wednesday, this tracks with the foregoing so it appears it was legit.

  • Josh

    Good morning,

    I am a veteran and have served 9 years within the PA Army National Guard. I am attending college as well as attending classes to get my CDL. I have a wife and 4 children. I have been on unemployment since March 19th but have yet to receive a payment. I was told to contact my states representatives in order to expedite the process. I just received a shut off notice for my gas and now my patiences has turned into frustration and desperation. As of April 25th, it looks like the state has provided temporary funding (15 million) to help with unemployment claims. 200 workers will be hired. Again, this is a short term fix. In the meantime, are there any other options for me other than what I have done to help expedite my claim?

  • Briana

    So I’m on week 9 of waiting for my claim to be processed. I’ve called numerous times I’ve found out if you take 2 phones an call back to back eventually u get through to sit on hold for an hour. I contacted my state rep at 7 weeks all that did was get someone to call me and say they sent an email. Well since then I’ve talked to two more people and had them supposedly send emails to their supervisors. I’m almost positive at this point they are flat out lying to me. Supposedly on 3/28 two people were reviewing my case and it should be soon. Yet here I am with nothing still.. will contacting the state rep again even do anything? Seems like there’s literally nothing I can do at this point.

    • Your only option is to contact your state rep, again. PA laid off 40% of its staff in its UE offices. They are overworked and demoralized. Issues between your Democratic state gov and the GOP legislature.

      You might also want to file a complaint with the United States Department of Labor. You are far from alone. Email the Regional Director, directly. Also fax a complaint to both numbers, or write letters, or call. The USDOL is usually quite good about investigating issues like these.

      Mr. Thomas Bydlon
      Regional Director
      Suite 825 East
      170 S. Independence Mall, West
      Philadelphia, PA 19106-3315
      Telephone: 215-861-4830
      FAX: 215-861-4833
      Internet E-Mail: Delaware

      United States Department of Labor
      Philadelphia Regional Office
      170 S Independence Mall West
      Ste 870 West
      Philadelphia, PA 19106-3317
      Tel (215) 861-5300
      Fax (215) 861-5347

      At the same time, you may want to contact the USDOL in DC directly, here via phone and email:

      I have found DC to be very responsive – like same day.

  • Tom

    I filed feb 22nd 2017 its now march 28th 2017 . i called unemployment march 22nd,and was told that unemployment never sent my old job anything to accept,or deny me. i was told they likely wouldn’t of known if i didn’t call,and said their systems haven’t been processing claims like there supposed to. so unemployment never fully processed my claim. i am being told to still wait another 6-8 more weeks to see if i even get a determination letter. so 2 almost 2 1/2 months i will have to wait to hear about this. How do i not have a legal bone to stand on when unemployment never processed my claim fully after a whole month. it was their error that held it off this long.

    • So, PA’s cutbacks of 40% of its staff are finally being felt. Your is an extreme case, however. Claims should be approved within 3-4 weeks. That PA actually said you might need to wait another eight weeks is outrageous. State laws usually don’t provide claimants any rights of recourse for agency irresponsibility in cases such as yours.

      That said, immediately email your elected state representative about this – again, immediately. Find yours, here:

      State reps are very effective at getting the states moving.

      Also, file a complaint with your state governor, attorney general and with the United States Department of Labor. Copy your state officials on complaints to the USDOL. The US Dept of Labor should motivate your state officials to step up their game. Last time I communicated with the USDOL, it contacted the state immediately. You may also want to consult an attorney at Legal Aid or the ACLU for help with the above.

  • John

    Does your benefits get placed in a holding pattern if you are receiving them and the em0loyer files an appeal?

    I was receiving benefits.
    My annual claim ran out.
    I refiled my initial claim amd was approved and began recieving payment and the employer filed an appeal… Will my payments be placed in hold as this process moves forward?

    • PA should continue payments until the appeal – but there are no guarantees. It all depends on when PA received a response to its latest query on your new claim. If there was a late-filed employer response and payments had begun before employer input, many states do suspend payments.

      However, this sounds like a routine employer objection commonly filed when 2nd year claims are granted. There could be at least six months wages from that employer in the LAG on which this claim is based, so they will object to the claim in a last-ditch attempt to avoid further charges to their account even though any objections they had a year ago have already been adjudicated. Which is another reason why PA shouldn’t suspend these benefits. Because the decision on those objections today were settled a year ago.

  • J. M.

    I have been waiting now for 7 weeks for a decision on my UC claim. Every time I call the number it is busy for hours. I finally got through last Thursday after being put on hold for over an hour and the rep just said they (Unemployment) hasnt made their decision as of yet regarding my claim. This is so frustrating. Can someone help me out regarding this issue. Someone told me to contact a state rep to possibly speed up the process. I am running out of time on my bills and things. Eviction and shut off notices are already in process. Someone please get in contact with me asap. Thank you very much.

  • AT


    I was hospitalized on 11/30/16, needed surgery on 12/7/16 and was on FMLA until 1/4/17. Upon my return I was placed on doctor’s restrictions of not lifting, pushing, or pulling anything over 10 lbs until 1/31/17. However, I was just let go on 2/24/17. I was given a variety of reasons why I was let go ( not a good fit for the role/team, etc…), but some reasons didn’t make sense (since our system recorded that I had the highest performance since I had returned on 1/4/17). However, I was given a generous 3 mo. severance package. I’m a Delaware resident, but worked in PA. Would I be eligible for Unemployment Compensation? By our system’s measurements, I had performed above the average (at times twice as much as the rest of the team combined), so it couldn’t be said I was let go for lack of performance, misconduct, or negligence. Although I payed taxes to DE and PA, Delaware will not give me any UC benefits since the company is based in PA. That severance package is nice, but considering my health bills and current health situation (and that I live by myself and completely dependent on myself), that severance money will go quick. Do I qualify for UC with the given scenario?

    Thank you!

    • In most cases, benefits are paid by the state in which you’ve worked. Where you live is irrelevant. Apply immediately in PA. Your severance, if under 19k, won’t affect your benefits. If severance exceeds $19k, your benefits will be delayed until the equivalent weeks of severance over $19k are exhausted.

      You are much better off with a PA claim, as PA pays a much higher benefit, up to $573/wk v. $330 wk. for DE.

  • Teri M for Jimi K

    My boyfriend just won his PA UC Appeal for good cause on the third round.

    Long story short, he had lost his job in Aug 2016 when he travelled to NJ and his car broke down and he’s been essentially stranded here ever since.

    It took from Aug 2016 to Feb 2017 to win.

    However. .. at some point in Nov 2016, after the 2nd appeal denial, they shut down his claim account, and he couldn’t file.

    We literally tried to call almost every day since, to get it back on, but could never get through. Doesn’t matter time of day I say of week. And we have no way to get to the service center to use the special phone.

    Now the claim is open to weekly filing again, since he won the appeal.

    But we still can’t reach anyone regarding how to fight for the weeks he was locked out, or even find mention of the issue anywhere online.

    Would you know how/who to reach to deal with this issue?

    Because, frankly, it’s just another tactic to keep from having to pay out, and it’s not right to let them get away with that, when we are the people that purchase unemployment insurance with our tax money.

  • Ts

    Hello. Thank you for answering all our questions so completely. My question is if my employer appeals, can I ask for trial to be moved to a closer site. Also, my AB date was 12/19/17. First week I received a payment was 1/7, because I filed biweekly 1 day late. My question is: if employer has 15 days to file an appeal, what date are they basing 15 days? This appeal seems to be late.

    • You can ask for a different location. More likely, PA will change this to a phone hearing.

      Employers can file appeals pretty much whenever they want. Generally, in every state with the possible exception of California, the system is skewed to the employer, and even California will allow an employer to appeal numerous times – and late.

      Most states regs are silent on this issue, whereas claimant is out of luck entirely if they miss a filing date. Employers will make up any bogus excuse and it’s good enough for the state to disregard the filing date. Some employers file a year after the fact and are granted a hearing. Much depends on the state.

      There isn’t anything you can do about a late-filed employer appeal – especially this early in the process. Focus on winning your appeal. Employer appealing late at this point isn’t winnable.

    • Kalil Muhammid

      I receive unemployment compensation benefits but do to me not fully registering for job gateway I didn’t receive my benefits this week. I didn’t know until I went through the mail to see I they sent anything & the letter said I was disqualified starting 7/22. Now that I have fully registered will they put NY benefits in my card!

  • Sandy

    When opening a SUBSEQUENT CLAIM, what is the LOGICAL purpose of rehashing the same reason of separation issues when the issues were decided on the first original claim?
    This already decided nothing changed.
    So my question is what is the LOGICAL reason for this other then backing up an already clogged system.


    • The answer isn’t any better than because it is a new claim which requires all separations be investigated. Employers often contest, again, a second-year claim, even though their objections did not prevail the prior year. Makes no sense, of course.

  • john baldwin jr.

    After alot of paperwork, I was able to file my claim on an “alternate base year” due to a work related injury.. My claim was denied due to lack of sufficient credit weeks. I worked 48 of the possible 52 weeks, grossing $600 a week. Well over the required $116. I missed 4 weeks due to non-work related surgery. They say I only have 13 credit weeks. I cannot figure out how they came up with this number. I don’t know how I can file an appeal without knowing what the real credit weeks should be. I’m confused!

    • It would appear your employer has incorrectly reported “credit weeks.” What follows is a communication I received from a PA UI worker:

      Employer may have reported the correct gross quarterly wages, but failed to report the number of credit weeks earned. Wage record only gets looked at by a human if the claimant appeals their financial determination.

      There should be a pink or blue form mailed with the financial determination to appeal the determination and tell them what employers are missing, dates and weeks worked for that employer etc.

      If the claimant has proof to send in, paystubs, W-2s, they can use the claimants records. All that is needed is to get to 26 credit weeks in the base year.

      If the claimant has no records, a wage investigation will be initiated but the claimant will be at the mercy of the employer.

      If the employer is defunct, the claimant can really be in trouble.

      So, examine your communication from PA carefully for the above, immediately request an appeal, and begin to assemble the supporting data.

      If you received no clear information with this denial and can’t get through on the phone, which can be almost impossible in PA these days, visit your closest PA CareerLink office and use the special UC Courtesy phones. These phones put you to the front of the line.

      UC takes inbound calls on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Most CareerLink offices open at 8:30am. Get there early.

      If you get no help or useful information there, then email your State of PA elected representative. State reps are very effective at getting the states to unsnarl issues like this. Find your rep, here:

      Good luck.

  • Trista Kinsey

    does anyone know if i will still get my bi weekly payments during the appeal process?

  • jacob A

    I’ve been filing my weeks since the last week of November, claim is approved but have gotten zero payments issued. Emailed and called several times and I get nothing in response. I have 4 kids, got bills, I’ve emailed representatives and got nothing. i’m on week I think number 7 of filing and have no money coming to me according the website it just keeps saying to file my biweekly claims.

    • PA closed three UC call centers before Christmas, and laid off over 600 people. Apparently the PA elected representatives are tired of hearing about this backlog, which is only getting exponentially worse as time goes on. In addition to emailing your reps, also call their offices – and the governor’s office.

      One more immediate option – visit your closest PA CareerLink office and use the special UC Courtesy phones. These phones put you to the front of the line.

      UC takes inbound calls on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Most CareerLink offices open at 8:30am. Get there early.

      Good luck – and let us know if this works for you.

  • Randall Kahler

    I filed my biweekly claim on January 8th, 2017 and did not receive my payment. When I checked the website it said it was under investigation. I cannot get anyone to answer the phone to tell me what is going on. Can someone please let me know why I have not received my unemployment and will this happen again when I apply on Sunday the 22nd?

    • Your GOP legislature has cut staff for PA DOL claims by 44% and closed three of seven offices. PA is now severely understaffed. PA citizens are now getting what they voted for via unanswered phones and payment delays. Email your state representative, find yours here:

      • Missy Tarlton


        I have been on line for days trying to figure out a way to help my husband resolve his questions about his unemployment. We live in NC and he works up and down the east coast.

        This is turning into a diaster dealing with PA’s unemployment. There’s no resolution by advising people to email a representative. I’m not sure how that helps with them being able to pay their bills currently due or pass due because of zero accountability on PA’s part in this.
        I’m sure by now they are realizing that this situation is blowing up in their face.. why does that ripple have to affect the people who have done everything according to the rules and guidelines outlined on the website.
        This is ridiculous. My local power company doesn’t care in the least about my financial situation nor PA’s unemployment negligence in releasing appropriate monies to the approved applicants.

        Where to go? No one seems to know.

        *Yeah for candles and fireplaces!!

        • Emailing the rep absolutely works for 99% of those do it. We have many testimonials on this issue. In almost all cases, reps immediately contact the claimant and the DOL, the DOL contacts the claimant, and benefits are paid within days. Check out the TN and MA pages.

          • Tina Maree

            I have been waiting for 7 weeks now with no payments, 3 kids, utilities being shut off and 1 week away from my car being repoed. I took ur advise and contacted my state rep and guess what happened?? NOTHING! No response from them. I call the UC OFFICES 3 times a week and NOBODY WILL TELL ME ANYTHING!

          • Has no one told you what the problem is with your claim? Your next step should be to email your governor – AND call his office.

  • Quency

    I’ve been receiving unemployment form since October 2016 up to December 28. I filed my biweekly claim for a payment of January 12, 2017 and have not received it yet. I also saw online that payment for the 12th is being issued on the 17th but I still didn’t receive anything. I tried to call many times time, but all I get is the busy signal.

  • Ashley

    My bf filed for unemployment files his claim early Sunday to get his payment on his card Wednesday its Thursday Monday was Martin Luther king day. Can’t get a hold of Telecom because it’s been busy 3 hours. Nothing in the mail and no phone calls. Is he going to get his unemployment today if not how much longer will it take?

  • Dan Reed

    I applied for UP on 1/2/2017.
    Got a call from UP to contact them so they can process claim. Imposdible to get through on the phone.
    Didnt get a pin number.
    How do I get help?

  • Amber

    My boyfriend has not received his unemployment payment. He filed his biweekly claim January 8th, we thought he would have had it by now as he’s been told he was eligible. He has not received a letter stating other wise. He has tried to call everyday they’ve been open but can’t get through to anyone. Yesterday the line was busy literally all day. I’ve not found all email for him to contact anyone through there either. He has his unemployment card already, as he’s filed unemployment through PA in the past. He’s spoken to someone before all few weeks all go when he first got laid off, he couldn’t get unemployment around Christmas time because he got too many hours at work. But he has not worked since nor gotten a letter saying any reason why he would not be getting unemployment for the time he filed for. We have 2 kids, zero money & tons of bills. Yet no info on when it will come, why it hasn’t came yet or of it will even come.

    • Much too soon to be expecting an approval. Most states need at least three weeks to process a claim. PA might be in a position to pay benefits next week after 1/29, earliest, assuming there are no other issues.

    • Ron Glen Lyons🇺🇸

      Have you heard anything or received money yet. Sorry I’m waiting to see if I’m getting money supposed to get last Wednesday but never came.

      • Is this a new claim? If so, when did you file? Have you been “approved?” Approvals can take up to four weeks.

        Have you received any payments, yet? If so, and payments have now stopped, visit your closest PA CareerLink office and use the special UC Courtesy phones rather than trying to call. PA doesn’t answer its phones these days. But, it will at a CareerLink Office. These phones put you to the front of the line.

        UC takes inbound calls on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Most CareerLink offices open at 8:30am. Get there early.

  • Cathy-wife

    my husband worked at a union shop. he has seniority and has the right to refuse overtime. he refused overtime and was fired and they said they can also refuse to let him get unemployment. We have 3 children, no job and they reuse to allow him to get unemployment. Can we fight this? We have only a little savings, and no job or insurance for the children. the boss does not like my husband. When he refused the overtime he said ” your funking going to do it” What can we do? just applied 1/11/2017. Can a denial be appealed? Help

    • Wait for the decision. Yes, a denial can be appealed. Whether or not he will win depends on his union contract and what is considered ILLEGAL overtime in your state.

      Read this:

      There are at least 16 states with restrictions on mandatory overtime: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia. These restrictions range from limiting the number of work-hours an employer can require to prohibiting the practice of mandatory overtime in certain occupations. Some states also prohibit the use of mandatory overtime as a means to overcome staffing problems.

      Union contracts, and other types of employment contracts, may also restrict the amount of overtime an employer can demand. Violation of these agreements is considered a breach of contract, and can open the employer to a civil suit.

      An employee that refuses to work overtime when requested to do so will likely be subject to discipline. Refusal to work overtime may even result in termination. However, if some aspect of the required overtime is illegal – if the mandatory overtime violates a contract, creates a safety or health hazard, or is not compensated in accordance with state and federal law – the overtime may be challenged.

      Your husband should talk to his union representative to determine if the overtime is a violation of the union contract. If it is, he will need to provide PA evidence both during the initial stages of processing and at the appeal should the appeal become necessary. He may also want to consult an employment lawyer in your state for PA’s definition of “illegal” in your husband’s situation in the event the union contract isn’t clear or doesn’t apply.

  • Yolanda

    I have worked at my company for 11 years. They are restructuring and I have to reapply for my same position. If I do not reapply will I be eligible for unemployment benefits? If I do apply and do not get it, will I be eligible for benefits?

    • If you do not reapply, your employer may call this a quit/job refusal versus a discharge. In the end, you may still have benefit eligibility if PA views this as a discharge, but getting approval for benefits may take longer.

      If you reapply and do not get the position, you have been discharged and are eligible for benefits.

  • Bruce Williamson

    My company is closing the office I work at and moving to NYC. This would double my commute from 35 miles to almost 100 miles. Can I receive UC benefits of the closing deadline happens before I find other work?

  • Gina

    I have worked for a company for 7 years now. I have an 8 month old baby to care for now. I have been back to work for 6 months and we have run into some issues with the baby sitter. Mistreatment of my child and lack of supervision has become an issue. We can not afford day care and absolutely can not find another babysitter. This has much stress on me as well as anxiety as I am constantly worrying about the care and health of my daughter but most of all worrying for her safety. I can not mentally take the worry anymore. My boss has worked with me some letting me leave early if needed. But that is just not good enough anymore. I need to be sure my daughter is safe and at this point me quiting my job is our ONLY option. Is it possible that I will qualify for UC benefits

  • I am inquiring if there are any circumstances in PA where you could quit working and collect unemployment to care for a spouse. We are both 64 years old and I plan to retire at 65 to care for her, but she needs help now.

    • Unemployment benefits are not paid to those who are not Able and Available – which means, even though you are caregiving, you should be searching for and in a position to accept work. You should have a good cause quit for compelling domestic reasons which will establish the claim, but still be ineligible to collect until you can prove A&A. You should read this:

      That said, long ago I read of a case where a PA claimant quit to care for a brother living in another state who’d had heart surgery. I suspect this claimant filed his weekly claims saying he was searching for work but, in reality, was not. This is considered unemployment fraud, and punishable with a variety of penalties, if caught.

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