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File for Unemployment in Pennsylvania
There are several methods to file for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania, including:
- Online Application submission available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Calling the Pennsylvania unemployment compensation line at 1-888-313-7284
- Mailing or faxing paper application
Unemployment Application and Initial Claim
File Your Unemployment Application and Initial Claim Process
- When filing an initial claim, you will be asked to provide your Social Security Number. The SSN is used as an identifier and can help identify other services for which you may qualify.
- You are then asked if this is an initial claim or if you are reopening an existing claim.
- After making the appropriate selection, proceed to the application form.
If you are sending in a paper application or have called into the hotline, the same process will be followed.
Documents and Information Needed During Filing
The specific information needed to file for benefits are as follows:
- Pennsylvania driver’s license number
- Name and address of former employer
- Dates of employment and reason for leaving
- Social Security number (or alien registration number if not a US citizen)
- Personal mailing address
- Personal PIN (if you do not have one, you will create one during the employment process)
- Direct deposit information including bank name, address, telephone number, bank account and routing number.
Depending on special circumstances, you may be asked to provide additional information such as:
- If you were in the military for the past 18 months, you will need to also provide a DD 214, Member Copy 4
- If you were working for the Federal Government in the last 18 months, you will need to provide information from Standard Form 8, Standard Form 50, as well as pay stubs or W-2s
- If you are covered under a NAFTA-TAA certification, you will need to provide the TA-W or NAFTA-TAA petition number
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Claim Weekly Benefits
Once the initial application has been filed and identified as qualifying for unemployment benefits, you will need to file a claim then biweekly the entire time that you are unemployed (or only partially employed).
How to Claim Weekly Benefits
Even though you will only be asked to file bi-weekly, your unemployment benefits qualify based on being available week by week. The UC week will begin on Sunday and end on Saturday. You will need to provide your Social Security Number and PIN, information on any wages earned during that period, and verification that you have been actively searching for employment and that you have been available to work if needed.
The best way to ensure timely payment is to file your biweekly claim online during the designated times (6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday or 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday). Once all steps are complete, a confirmation page informing you of claim submission will appear.
If filing online is not an option, you can also call Pennsylvania Teleclaims (PAT) at 888-334-4046 during the designated times (Sunday 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.). The process will include the same questions asked online, but answers will be provided through touch tone responses.
Claim Denials or Discrepancies
In Pennsylvania, the Department of Labor & Industry will review every application of benefits and determine if the individual qualifies for benefits. The UC Service Center is the branch of the Department of Labor & Industry that makes the determination of eligibility and will inform both the employers and the claimant of the decision.
If you are challenging the decision of eligibility status or requesting a higher benefit amount, you will only receive payment if the decision results in a reversal or greater benefit amount declared. Even if you are not receiving the compensation yet, it is important that you continue to file for your benefits bi-weekly and complete registration on the Pennsylvania CareerLink site.
If your employer is challenging your eligibility status, you will continue to receive your benefits throughout the appeal process. If it is determined that you were truly not eligible and it is because you failed to provide accurate information, you will be expected to return benefits (along with interest). On the other hand, if it is determined that you were not eligible, but there is not a fault to assign, you will be allowed to keep your benefits.
Appeals Process for Denied Claims
Pennsylvania has three level of appeals:
If you find yourself not agreeing with the determination of benefits decided by the US Service Center, an appeal can be filed to a Referee. The appeal must be received during the 15-day window between the date the determination of benefits was mail and the finalization of the decision. Once the request is received and processed, a hearing will be scheduled
You can file via online, mail, fax, or in person. The appeal needs to include your name, address, Social Security Number, the date of the determination, and the reason for filing. Once the appeal is submitted, a confirmation email will be sent, and you will then be notified by the US referee’s office about the details of your hearing. At the hearing, the Referee will review the evidence provided and will give their decision to all parties through the mail.
Within 15 days of the mailing date of the Referee decision, you can appeal to the UC Board of Review. The board will include a chairperson and two board members as determined by the governor.
You can file an appeal through mail, fax, or email. The appeal needs to include your name, address, Social Security Number, the date of the determination, and the reason for the appeal. The Board will review the previously provided testimony and evidence and may ask (though not required) for a second hearing. A written decision will then be provided and mailed to the appropriate parties.
Within 30 days of the mailing date of the UC Board decision, you can appeal to the Commonwealth Court. Appeals are only granted under exceptional circumstances, and no further evidence will be accepted.
Your appeal must be submitted to the following address:
Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Judicial Center
601 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 2100
P.O. Box 69185
Harrisburg, PA, 17106
If you have a question about the appeal process, you may call 717-255-1650
Office of Appeals Contact Information
Your location will determine your UC Board of Review Referee Office location. To find the office address, phone number, fax, and appropriate email address for your location, please proceed to the link found below:
To contact UC Board of Review, you can use the following information:
- Physical address:
Room 1116, Labor and Industry Building
651 Boas Street
Harrisburg, PA 17121
- Phone: 717-787-5122
- Fax: 717-787-612
- Email: ra-li-ucbr-CentralOf@pa.gov