In the state of Pennsylvania, unemployment insurance (UI) benefits can be obtained by contacting the Department of Labor and Industry. In particular, the UI centers can be contacted on either Monday or Tuesday of each week if you have questions regarding UI benefits and claims.
Eligibility & Benefits
To obtain UI benefits in Pennsylvania, you must meet a set of criteria that has been outlined by the department. Firstly, you must be unemployed due to no fault of your own. You must also have worked in a paid position that was covered under the Unemployment Compensation Law in the state. You must also be ready to work, able to work, and actively seeking employment before applying for UI benefits.
In August 2013, a work search requirement was established for all unemployed workers. As part of this condition, you must keep a work search log and register at www.jobgateway.pa.gov after filing a claim for UI benefits; you must use this website to submit your search records on a weekly basis. In fact, you cannot apply for benefits without registering on this website.
Your eligibility is also based on your earnings within a specific period of 12 months, which is considered your “standard base period.” This period consists of the first four completed quarters out of the last five quarters prior to the start date of your IU benefits. Additionally, the amounts that you will receive in total and on a weekly basis are based on your earnings from your base period. Similarly, the number of weeks for which you are eligible to benefit from the UI program is also determined based on your earnings from this period. In most cases, the quarter in which you earned the most money will be used to evaluate whether you qualify for UI benefits.
In general, you will be paid approximately half of what you would have been paid if you had been working in a full-time position. Benefits will be paid to you bi-weekly, and your first payment will become available to you within four weeks of filing your claim. You can receive your payments by direct deposit or through an unemployment compensation debit card program. Uniquely, you will not be charged services fees for cash withdrawals using this debit card.
How to File a Claim
The process of filing a claim can be as simple as going online and registering yourself on the official website. Similarly, you can also choose to file a claim by telephone by contacting 1-888-313-7284. However, a paper option is available for those who do not have access to a computer or the internet. You will need the following items before you can begin the application process:
- Social Security Number
- Mailing address and telephone number
- Driver’s license or identification card
- Employment history from the last 18 months, which includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all your previous employers
- The dates of employment, your earnings, and the reasons for separation from all positions held within the last 18 months
- Banking information to set up payments through direct deposit, such as your bank account number and routing number