The Jobless Can’t Reach to State Call Centers

People who have a problem with unemployment benefits get endless busy signal.

The state’s call center for PA unemployment benefits in downtown Allentown is not set up to assist the unemployed, but most days some will turn up anxious for answers after receiving a non-stop busy signal when they try calling.

An employee of the call center memorized one woman who claimed she had pressed  redial 137 times before she even got the automatic answering service that inform you how long your wait will be. That wait for her was 2 hours and 40 minutes.

The call center employee said, “It’s bad, it is really bad”. Allentown’s call center on Hamilton Street is one of seven in Pennsylvania. The state stopped an eighth call center in Philadelphia in August and jobless 78 workers in response to a loss of federal unemployment benefits.

Presently, the state has 520 employees to receive calls and handle calls for the 525,000 laid-offs as per Sara Gourlet, spokeswoman for the state Department of Labor & Industry. Of those unemployed 275,000 are collecting benefits.

Gourlet started inspecting into this after a neighbor told her he had been trying for days to reach someone in an unemployment office who could tell him how to resolve a problem with his claim.

He strived hard to fix the problem online at the Labor department website but there’s no selection available for his specific issue. “I tried calling 30 or 40 times,” he said. “You can never get through.”

After hearing number of similar stories, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia had a paralegal do an 11-day experiment to observe how long it would take her every day to expend on the toll-free-number.

For instance, on Aug 28, 2012, the paralegal got 37 consecutive busy signals and stopped trying after two hours. On Sept.5, she got 78 repeated busy signals after four hours. The least amount of time it took her over 11 days to get in touch with a live person was 29 minutes.

According to Sharon Dietrich, managing partner of Community Legal Services, the logjam has left many of her agency’s clients in terrible crisis. “It’s true all over the state,” she said. “A lot of my clients are using cell phones and they have limits on their cell phone minutes. We have some people who come to our office just to use a phone to call.”

Dietrich said she recognizes that the state is attempting to do more with less. But layoffs at call centers and cuts in the hours the jobless can get help –now a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday – restricting people who are seeking work.

She said, “I don’t think you can run a system where people can’t access the system.”

In brief, there aren’t sufficient people employed in trying to help the laid offs find the way to unemployment system.

According to Gourlet, the curbs have come in response to a $30 million drop in funds the state obtains from the U.S. government to manage unemployment compensation. As the state unemployment rate has dipped, together with the number of people filing for PA Unemployment benefits, so has the federal money for administration.

Gourlet recommended that the unemployed can call from the CareerLink Union Boulvard, which has a phone line with better chances of getting through to staff at the call centers.

The call center employee has also told Gourlet that the staffs are under guidelines to stay on the line when a call comes from a CarrerLink so the phone can be passed from one jobless person to another to another.

Gourlet, who said the state plans to include more temporary call center workers, said callers sometimes have shorter waits calling later in the day and later in the week. Other unemployed people have had some success calling their legislator to mediate.

Keep in mind; the Legislature previous year passed a law that in order to collect benefits, the laid offs must now be able to prove they have applied for three jobs per week as well as signed up for employment search services with the Pennsylvania CareerLink.

So how can we anticipate people to do a full-time job search if they have to use up business hours redialing when they have a question about their checks?

Pennsylvania Unemployment Hotline Frustrates the Unemployed

A crowd of people in winter coats walked in a circle in front of the Pa. Career Link office on Spring Garden Street, calling the unemployment compensation hotline on their cell phones.

There’s a main problem with a state hotline as jobless residents can’t call to file claims for benefits and resolve issues. The line is always busy and has been for weeks.

The jammed-up phone system is not an outcome of increasing claims. To the contrary, unemployment claims have dropped in 2012 as the job market is improving slowly. Goulet, a spokeswoman with the Department of Labor and Industry said, “We’re working on it, “We’re trying to find ways to get people the help they need.”

Busy signals frustrate the unemployedMeanwhile, frustrated callers are rushing into Carrerlink of the Lehigh Valley which has two phones connected directly to the unemployment compensation call centers. Those two phones can put up about 8 people per hour, so the line begins early in the morning and keeps growing until the agency has to turn people away.

The callers have been getting larger. Nearly 50,000 residents filed unemployment claims in Northampton and Lehigh Counties in August this year, down 8.6% from the same month in 2011. Statewide, the number of claims in August was near to 900,000, down 12.2 percent from 2011.

Protesters offended over busy signals at the State’s Department of Labor have taken into the protest lines in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Unemployment Project says when callers to the state’s jobless benefits hotline don’t get a busy signal. They get a 3 hour wait.

David Wengert, a social worker who read off the number to the crowd, was laid off in June. He got the busy tone when he attempted to detect what had happened to three missed checks.

“People receiving unemployment like myself, it’s stressful. And it’s already stressful enough that you don’t have a job and you’re looking for work,” he said. He clarified that he finally when to a job placement office, where employees called the Department of Labor through their own back channels to explain this problem.

People call state hotline to file claims and can't get throughThe state of Pennsylvania has brought back 117 of 135 call center workers and put on unpaid leave. According to Goulet, the claimants must consider the hotlines the emergency room of the unemployment system.

“When you are first sick, you would normally try some self-help — aspirin, rest. Much like going online to to look for answers and/or reading thoroughly all information sent to you by the [unemployment compensation] office,” she said. “If you are sick and continue to not feel well, then you would go to the ER. … And, by claimants who could self-help using the phones, lines are clogged for those who truly need to speak to someone.”

Federal Assistance Set to Run Out

The Philadephia contingent was also on the street to complain about the pending termination of the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which pays for a longer period of unemployment benefits.

Carmelo Del Valle validated an extension by the fact that he paid into the program all through 25 years as a forklift operator. He has been seeking work for over a year and hopes an extension could carry him into the spring, “because that’s when most of the work comes back up.”

“I just need a little extra help for now,” he said.

Unemployment Claims In Pennsylvania and Ohio Spike due to Sandy

job lossesThe media will either overlook, or just not report on the spike in the first time unemployment, which is at its maximum in 18 months. While some first time filers were in New Jersey, and influenced by Hurricane Sandy, that number was offset by the DECREASE in first time filings in New York. Instead, two big battleground states that voted for Obama in the past election saw the maximum number of PA unemployment filings, Ohio and Pennsylvania. These states voted for Obama and are therefore enjoying the consequences. These states had little impact from Hurricane Sandy. The reason for the spike in filings was because of thousands of layoffs in the manufacturing, construction, and automobile industries.

Initial claims, which totaled 361,000 in the former week, climbed by 78,000 to 439,000, the highest reading since April, 2011.

“After a storm, the data is distorted to some extent, depending on the magnitude and geography of the disaster,” said Nathaniel Karp, chief economist for BBVA Compass. “Given what happened with Sandy,” he predicted, “we will see higher volatility in many indicators for a couple of months until everything begins to normalize.”

The four week moving average of initial claims, a measure that many economists support because it smoothes out short-term fluctuations, increased 17,750 to 383,750 from the former week’s revised average of 372,000. That’s a little worse reading than the year-ago moving average, which was 393,750.

The report indicated that the financial system is still growing below trend and trying to pick up some of lost momentum. While the government lately reported that 171,000 jobs were created last month, Karp said, such positive developments must take place at a quicker pace to make a difference.

“It can be somewhat frustrating, as we would like to see a stronger recovery, but at least we are moving forward,” said Karp.

The count of people continuing to obtain jobless benefits ascended in the week ended November 3 to 3.3 million, the maximum level since July of 2008, and 171,000 more than the previous week.

Sandy’s damage has not yet been fully reflected in the jobs data, the Labor Department said: Power outages from the storm have detained processing of

Sandy’s damage hasn’t yet been fully reflected in the jobs data, the Labor Department said: Power outages from the storm have delayed processing of first and emergency claims in hard-hit areas.

The states with the maximum unemployment filings were Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey and Michigan. Ohio and Pennsylvania processed more claims than states hit by Sandy, due to construction layoffs.

“The construction industry is still under a severe recession,” said Tom Owens, director of communications at America’s Building Trade Unions.

“With government projects finishing up and the winter season coming on, we usually have a spike in unemployment,” said Owens.

In the unadjusted data, the labor department reported 4.9 million claims for the week ended October 27, a 2% decrease from the prior week. The total number is also a 26% decrease from those claiming unemployment in the week of 2011.

The report, along with the government’s fiscal-deficit situation, may increase pressure on policy makers to produce a sustainable U.S fiscal plan.

To calculate your benefits click on PA Unemployment Calculator.

Crawford County’s Jobless rate Unaltered

Crawford County’s jobless rate was unaffected in August – holding at 7.8% while the rates in four adjoining counties of northwest Pennsylvania all climbed up in August, as per figures released this week by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The county’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 7.8% for August is below the 8.1% seasonally adjusted unemployment rate recorded in August 2011.

In between July and August, Crawford County saw the number of jobs in the service sector rise by 200 from 23,100 to 23,300. Gains of 100 were reported in both business and professional services sector from 2,100 to 2,200; and the local government sector from 2,600 to 2,700.

On the other hand, the number of manufacturing jobs in the country fell by 100 to 6,900 from the 7,000 mark in July. It’s the first time the number had changed since March.

Crawford County has a higher reliance on manufacturing than other areas of the country. About 17 percent of all jobs in the country are associated with manufacturing, while only about 11 percent are national and 12 percent statewide.

Most of the local manufacturing jobs are with local firms supplying tools, tooling and machinery industry, equipment and other parts to prominent manufacturers.

Crawford County’s overall seasonally adjusted labor force for August minimized by 300 to 43,600, with 40,200 employed and 3,400 jobless, as per the state. According to the most recent statistics, in July, the total seasonally adjusted labor force was 43,900 with 40,500 employed and 3,400 unemployed.

According to the state, Crawford County’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 7.8% was lower than 8.1% rate for both Pennsylvania and the nation in August.

Crawford County also saw a development in February, falling from 7.4 percent to 7.0 percent, as per the monthly jobs report from the state Department of Labor & Industry.

The good news wasn’t isolated to northwestern Pennsylvania.

According to Christopher Magaro, a state labor analyst, the jobless rate fell in 56 Pennsylvania counties, held steady in five counties and rose in six counties.

Unemployment numbers in the four countries in Northwest Pennsylvania went higher in August.

The rates for the other counties, listed August, then July, were: Mercer, 8.9, 8.4; Erie, 7.6, 7.4; Warren, 7.4, 7.0; and Venango, 8.1, 7.7.

Some of the surrounding counties unemployment rates were:

  • Lawrence County, 8.3 percent
  • Butler County, 6.7 percent

About Crawford County: Crawford County is a county situated in the U.S state of Pennsylvania. It was created on March 12, 1800, from part of Allegheny County and named for Colonel William Crawford. Its county seat is Meadville.

More settle for short-time work

Four years back, Steve Foundation made about $70,000 a year as a newspaper publisher.

Four weeks ago, Fountain brought home a $129 paycheck after putting in a nine-hour work week at his short term job.

Fountain, 49, of Honesdale, said that he has learned so many things from his experience for a new perspective, as he sipped an iced coffee at a fast-food restaurant in Scranton. “You realize there are always people who are worse off.”

Fountain is amongst millions of Americans who hold part-time jobs, but wish for full-time work.  As per the latest U.S. Department of Labor data, In Pennsylvania, 338,400 people—6% of all workers—have part time jobs because of economic conditions.

Mark Price, Ph.D., an economist at the Keystone Research Center, a labor-supported Harrisburg organization that analyzes the state’s economy said that there are many people finding employment that helps pay the bills but they don’t get as many hours as they would like. He said, “It’s a tough labor market — especially for them.”

Though the state’s jobless rate from April to June averaged 7.4%, the underemployment rate was 13.5%, as per the Department of Labor Statistics. The group, known as the U-6 rate, includes the unemployed, together with people doing part-time jobs for economic reasons and marginally attached workers—those not keenly looking for work, but want a job and have wanted employment in the past year.

“People are taking what they can get to get by and it’s a terrible waste of resources,” Price said.

Gus Faucher, Ph.D., an economist at PNC Financial Services Group, a Pittsburgh-based bank holding company says, “These are obviously people that want to work”. According to him under usual conditions, these people would be doing full-time work.

Fountain, a California native and college graduate with experience in journalism, came to the area in 2007 and would work full-time if he could find it. Ever since 2010, Fountain has worked for Manpower, a job-placement firm periodically in temporary positions at warehouse. After his latest recent nine-hour work at a warehouse, he also landed a part-time job at a fast-food restaurant.

From the time when he was fired in July 2009 after 2 ½ years as a publisher of three regional weekly newspapers, Fountain also has worked as a debt collector, a landscaper, a Census Bureau worker, a political campaign press secretary and a public relations freelancer. He wishes to work full-time in human resources or management.

Fountain said. “I’ve been looking. I’m willing to work my way up again. “I’ve had two out-of-state interviews, but nothing came of it.”

Underemployment is harsher in dozens of states than in Pennsylvania. The highest U-6 rate is Nevada’s 22.1%, followed by California, at 20.3 percent, government data show. The nationwide, second-quarter U-6 rate was 14.7%.

On Friday, the U.S department of Labor, announced data showing the jobless rate for September was 7.8%, a 0.3% drop from the previous month. The national U-6 rate remained at 14.7%.

The data reflects stubbornly high unemployment rate and the reluctance of companies to employ more full-time workers because of sputtering demand and economic uncertainty, as per economists.

“Normally, that number is running around 8 or 9 percent,” Faucher said. “The problem is much more severe than we have had in other recessions.”

The harshness hit quickly in Fountain’s household after his 2009 firing. His wife, Jennifer a former stay-at-home mom to the couple’s three children, went to work around the clock as an insurance agent in December 2009.

“We pulled the plug on cable TV two years ago,” Fountain said. “We have had to hit the IRA once or twice, which is difficult.”

But the impact on his family from parental absences—although he and his wife work at different times—troubles Fountain more than the financial challenges.

Fountain says that his eldest daughter is taking a household responsibility which is really a tough thing. He says, “When I get home tonight, they are going to be in bed. In the morning, I’ll see them for about 20 minutes.”

Fountain said he and his wife anticipate grossing about $55,000 this year in combined income. They are current on their mortgage, taxes and utility bills, but just barely. They have also received monetary help from their families.

Fountain said, “We are living a lot more humbly, a lot more frugally and we appreciate what we have.”

The difficulty the Fountains experience is frequent in many families troubled by involuntary part-time work, Faucher said.

“It means weaker income growth, which means weaker growth in consumer spending,” he said. “It kind of feeds on itself.”

National Unemployment Drops Below 8 Percent

State employment figures are not yet obtainable for September, but Pennsylvania jobs have been equal to or below national figures for 70 successive months.

A new jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrates that the national unemployment average declined below 8 percent for the first time in 44-months, settling at 7.8 percent.

According to the report, non-farm employment went up by 114,000 jobs. Of those jobs, 10,000 came from public sector. The bureau also settled the July and August jobs numbers by an additional 86,000.

The employment news was welcomed with cautious cheerfulness by an Obama administration that is keen to change the conversation from the President’s widely panned performance at a debate against Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

“While there is more work that remains to be done,” blogged Alan Krueger, chairman of President Obama’s council of economic advisers, “today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression.”

Romney recognized the fall in unemployment at a rally in Abingdon, Va., Yahoo News reports, but stressed out that the recovery is taking too long. He also pointed out the numbers don’t indicate the number of people who have just stopped seeking work.

It’s too quick to make out exactly how Pennsylvania employment matches to the national figures as the state report for September won’t be announced until October 18. On the other hand, as Department of Labor and Industry spokesperson Christopher Manlove indicates, Pennsylvania has stayed equal to or below the national average for the past 70 successive months.

According to Manlove, Pennsylvania has an old and established financial system with different industries. He says, “We don’t rely on just a few sectors to thrive, like Florida and California with housing or Michigan and the auto industry.”

One more cause for Pennsylvania’s slightly stronger presentation in the job market is the more conventional hiring practices in the state, said Lori Hourigan, a vice president with Robert Half International, a staffing services company with offices in Philadelphia.

The state as a whole tends not to over hire,” said Hourigan. “A lot of other places tend to overstaff when times are good. Pennsylvania was hurt just like everyone else when the recession hit, but there was not as much to cut as those other states.”

In the suburban Philadelphia area, Hourigan said that the job growth has been particularly powerful in the healthcare, finance and technology industries. Center City hospital systems have extended into surrounding communities, such as Einstein Medical Center’s recently opened branch on Germantown Pike in East Norriton. These growths have created more chances for nurses and doctors looking to get of the nursing homes and into a hospital setting, Hourigan said.

In the economic sector, there are not as many college graduates specializing in accounting and finance. At the same time more people are giving up work from that industry, creating a big demand.

With winter advancing, Hourigan expects more gains in seasonal employment as part-time and stay at home workers look to

With winter approaching, Hourigan predicts more gains in seasonal employment as part-time and stay at home workers need to increase their income.

“They want to go back and make some extra money so they can have an enjoyable holiday,” Hourigan said.

Amendment of 2012 Unemployment Compensation Law in Pennsylvania

Some minor changes have been made in 2012 to Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation laws. Let us look into the different aspect of amendment done in UC laws that have bought alteration amongst both employers as well as employees.

Prior to the year 2012 as per the UC laws of Pennsylvania, claimants used to register for work and then they may continue to report to an unemployment bureau in order to be qualified for benefits. But now as per the recent amendment of Section 401 of Act 6 2011, “Qualification Required to Secure Compensation” it requires the claimant to make an active search for suitable job.

Requirements of active search of suitable jobs:

  • As an active claimant post your resume to Pennsylvania CareerLink’s database.
  • Register for jobs, seek out with Pennsylvania CareerLink within 30 days of the initial application for claiming unemployment compensation benefits.
  • Apply for the relevant job with appropriate wages by commuting distance of 45 minutes and considering the prior worked experience.

All these requirements are not applicable for the week where the claimant is undergoing approved training, while participating in re-employment programs or until the date by which an employer would have told the claimant that he/she would be recalled to work.

As a claimant you may also contact Department of Labor and Industry website for additional details over new active search requirement. Since all the cases differ, it is advised to consult with attorney who is knowledgeable in the field of unemployment compensation.

Direct Deposit Payment Method in Pennsylvania

Once if it is confirmed that you are eligible for Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation after filing claim, your payment can be done in two ways either by depositing to your saving or checking account or by Direct Deposit.

The claimant can receive the payment to his existing savings or checking account. Once the amount is processed you can access the cash with your accessible ATM card.

The second option is Direct Deposit, which is the easiest and most convenient way to get your money transferred. If you are filing a new claim online you can enter your direct deposit information directly on the unemployment insurance application. To apply online you will need to provide the nine-digit bank routing/transit number and the checking/savings account number.

Direct Deposit in Brief

Direct Deposit is the transfer of benefits amount electronically into the qualified claimants savings or checking account. This is transferred by sending you Pennsylvania unemployment insurance benefits to the Federal Reserve and then to claimant’s financial institution.

The benefits of direct deposit

  • There are no checks to be lost or stolen.
  • Payments reach your account the day the check is issued — even if you are out of town, sick or unable to get to your financial institution.
  •  Many banks offer free or lower-cost checking for customers with direct deposit because it saves them the cost of processing paper checks.
  • Direct deposit can help you avoid bouncing checks because the deposit is direct and on time.
  •  It can save you trips to the bank and help you avoid long lines at tellers or ATMs.
  • The federal government and many employers will deposit your check a day early if the regular payday falls on a holiday.

How to choose the direct deposit as the payment option

In order to choose the direct deposit as the payment option of unemployment insurance benefit while filing your claim you need to follow the below stated steps:

  • Enter your Pennsylvania UI Website and login with existing password or create a login id and password by clicking on “Register Now” option
  • Remember to verify your Social Security Number and date of birth.
  • Select the “Choose Payment Option” generally which will be mentioned in the Main Menu.
  • Enter your personal identification number (PIN) and select the option “Change Payment Option to Direct Deposit.
  • Enter your bank account information: savings or checking selection, routing number, and account number
  • Check the box indicating you understand your payments will be sent to your bank account and submit

How to change the Payment Option

If you have doubt whether you can change the payment option, the answer is yes. You can change the payment option at any time during the time of your benefit year.

Option to change the option:

You need to go to “Choose Payment Option” in the main menu and change the option from Direct Deposit to Debit Card Payment option.

Essential details for Direct Deposit Payment

  • Bank name, street address, city, state and Zip Code.
  • Bank telephone number
  • Bank account number
  • Bank account routing number

Identifies your bank or financial institution. Your financial institution’s routing number is the nine-digit number that usually appears on the lower left portion of your personal check. Your savings account typically does not have the routing number listed, so you will need to contact your financial institution for its routing number.

Direct Deposit is the process by which unemployed would be allowed for the payment by his or her paycheck directly to the particular bank account. Remember that Employee authorization must be granted prior to a direct deposit payment. In few states direct deposit is mandatory but if employees do not have bank account then other option would be followed like pay cards.

Direct Deposit method is most supportive process for employee as well as employer as the employee does not want move all around to banks for depositing the paycheck. It is also not required for an employer to wait for the paper Checks and this is known as float. For an employee who works distantly is better to get his payment on his direct account directly on the payday itself without any tensions of mailing or shipping cost.

When could I Expect the Payment over Direct Deposit

You can expect your payment of direct deposit on your chosen account after completion of waiting week of seven days. The payment will be deposited into your savings or checking account two to three business days after each week.

Filing Interstate Unemployment Compensation in Pennsylvania

If in case you have worked in more than one state during base period then you would be eligible to claim the interstate unemployment compensation, in addition you need to fulfill certain PA unemployment claims eligibility criteria. Generally base period is calculated as the first four months of the past five calendar quarters.

Interstate Unemployment Benefits

In order to be entitled to claim an inter state unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania:

  • It is essential to have worked in the state Pennsylvania along with at least one other state.
  • You can also file the unemployment claim in Pennsylvania though you are not a resident of Pennsylvania but have worked in that state.

Claims for UI Interstate Benefits

Claims for benefits or waiting-period credit shall be filed by interstate claimants on uniform interstate claim forms and in accordance with uniform procedures developed pursuant to the interstate benefit payment plan.

Claims shall be filed in accordance with the type of week in the agent state. Adjustments required to fit the type of week used shall be made by the liable state on the basis of consecutive claims filed.

Commuter Claim

Commuter is considered for a person who lives in one State but goes to another State to work.

You will be eligible for the Commuter claim if you have frequently traveled across the state to work. You will be considered as a resident of the State where you worked, in case of a commuter claim.

To obtain the benefit for your commuter claim will be determined based on the status of the state where you worked and not the state where you lived.

Process of Claiming the Compensation

  • Pile Up the details of your work experience of past 18 months, which consists the details of contact address, phone number and the duration period worked.
  • Call the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Service Centre over phone on 888-313-7284 between 7 am to 8.30 pm on weekdays and on Sundays between 7 am to 2.30 pm.
  • Provide the details of your name, work history, contact details, along with your date of birth, Social security number and tell about the *combined wage claim* (since you worked for more than one state) to executive representative.
  • Once the above claiming process is done over phone, with the period of 30 days you are expected to know if you are approved for the benefit or not. If accepted your weekly benefit will also be intimated to you by mail.
  • Complete your weekly claim forms as they are sent to you. Repeat this every week until you get an appropriate job.

To file an application for unemployment benefits, you will be asked to provide:

  • Social security number
  • PA Department of Transportation photo ID
  • Alien registration number (for non-United States citizens)
  • The name and address of last employer (full or part-time)
  • Most recent pay stub

Combined Wage Claim and Inter-State Claim

If an individual has worked in more than one state, he may combine all of the wages earned in his base period either to qualify monetarily for benefits or to increase the amount of benefits to which he would be entitled.

Based on the interstate claim, your benefits are determined on the state you filed against, also known as “paying state.” This should also be the state where you live.

You are entitled to the amount of benefits available to workers in the paying state, even though your benefits are based in part on earnings from work in another state.

Interstate Claim of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program provides four tiers of unemployment extensions to applicants who have filed an interstate claim and has a different option to claim the benefit

By Mail

  1. Visit the website of Pennsylvania labor office. Download and print the EUC extension application.
  2. Fill the form legibly. Sign and mention date the bottom.
  3. Mail the form to the address mentioned on the form.



  1. Access Pennsylvania’s labor office website. Make use of your current username and PIN to log in.
  2. Find the way to the online benefit extension application. Complete the application and check the box indicating that the answers you presented are accurate to the best of your knowledge.
  3. Click “Submit to send your application to Pennsylvania.

By Phone

  1. Call Pennsylvania’s claims line. Log into the system with your Social Security number and PIN.
  2. Respond each of the questions that automated system asks you. Use the keypad as directed when confirming all of your answers are correct to the best of your knowledge.
  3. Press the proper key to submit your claim to the state.

PA Unemployment FAQs

1. What is Unemployment Compensation and what are the eligibility criteria?

2. How to apply for Unemployment Compensation benefits in the state?

3. What is Pennsylvania Unemployment Tax Rate?

4. What are the necessary requirements while filing the initial claim?

5. What are the Unemployment Compensation payment procedures?

6. Is it possible to get benefits if you are fired from a company?

7. If you quit the job on your own are you eligible for the benefits claim?

8. How to file the Interstate Unemployment Compensation in Pennsylvania?

9. What is the eligibility to obtain Extended Benefit?

10. What is the process to claim Extended Benefit?

1. What is Unemployment Compensation and what are the eligibility criteria to obtain?

Unemployment Compensation (UC) is the temporary income that offers earnings in case if you have lost your job for no faults of yours. The amount you receive will be for a limited period till the time you look for another suitable job. To be eligible for benefits, you need to fulfill the criteria of PA unemployment eligibility, an individual must be an employee who has executed the service expected by the UC Law and he should be eligible to work.

Video on PA Unemployment Eligibility –

In case if you are a part time worker then you may be eligible for partial benefit. But as expected from the laws defined by Pennsylvania you should be available to work and actively searching for job.

2. How to apply for Unemployment Compensation benefits in the state Pennsylvania?

It is very essential to be familiar with how and when you must file the claim for Unemployment Compensation Benefits. Initial Unemployment Compensation applications for claiming the benefits are filed through online via Internet or through telephonic sources Pennsylvania Tele-claims (PAT) of US service centers. You may visit the Pennsylvania Unemployment online site which is the best way to file your Unemployment Claim that is available 24 hours a day and seven day a week.

To file the claim over phone you can call to the

Toll-free number at 1-888-313-7284

For TTY services for the deaf and hard of hearing: you may call on 1-888-334-4046

You may call between 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, The best times to call are later in the day and later in the week.

Watch this video on how to contact PA Unemployment office –

3. What is Pennsylvania Unemployment Tax Rate?

Generally tax contribution rate notice will be forwarded to employers through mail at the end of each calendar year that includes the effective tax rate for the upcoming calendar year. The percentage determines the taxable wage paid (upto a maximum of $8,000 for each employee) to find out the exact amount of employer’s contribution due.

Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation taxes are pay $8,000 of wages for each employee. Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation tax are experienced-rated with such rates ranging from 2.21 percent to 10.5 percent. A new employer will pay contributions at 3.75 percent for non-construction employees and 10.4 percent for construction employees on up to the first $8,000 in taxable wages paid to each employee for the calendar year. This rate remains in effect for approximately two years. After two years, the employer should have sufficient experience to be entitled to a calculated rate for future year.

4. What are the necessary requirements while filing the initial claim?

While Filing PA Initial Claim, first and foremost thing that you need to consider in order to obtain Unemployment Benefit is to be ready with all below stated check lists, details for your reference:

  • Your name, social security number, addresses and telephone number.
  • In case if you are claiming file for dependents then you need to have their names, birth dates and social security numbers.
  • Complete payroll address, reason for separation for each employer you worked for last 18 months before filing the claims.

Video on Filing requirements –

5. What are the Unemployment Compensation payment procedures?

There are two types of payment options while receiving the Unemployment Compensation Benefits. The claimant can receive the payment to his existing savings or checking account. Once the amount is processed you can access the cash with your accessible ATM card.

The second option is by direct deposit which is the easiest and convenient way to get your money transferred hence you need to provide the details of:

  1. Bank name, street address, city, state and Zip Code.
  2. Bank telephone number
  3. Bank account number
  4. Bank account routing number

6. Is it possible to get the unemployment compensation benefit if you are fired from a company?

If you were fired from the company on the basis that the job was not suitable for your position and if you were terminated on the reason that the company has reduced the production and cutting off the employees then you may be qualified for unemployment benefits.

If you are fired on the basis of misconduct behavior then you may not be eligible for the unemployment compensation. Misconducts in behavior are treated over violation of company policies or rules, falsifying records or any other serious misbehavior related to your employment.

7. If you have resigned the job on your own are you eligible for the benefit claim?

In most of the cases if you have quit the job on your own then you will not eligible for the compensation. But in some rare cases you can still collect the benefit on the reasons like if you would have left the job for good cause.

Self resigning would also assist you in claiming benefits. The situations include the reasons like unsafe working conditions, not being paid, unexpected change in your job duties, discrimination, health and safety risks over the job or some types of family emergency reasons.

8. How to file the Interstate Unemployment Compensation in Pennsylvania?

If in case you have worked in more than one state in the duration of base period then you would be eligible to claim the PA interstate unemployment compensation. Generally base period is calculated as the first four months of the past five calendar quarters.

In order to be entitled to claim an interstate unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania:

  • It is essential to have worked in the state Pennsylvania along with at least one other state.
  • You can also file the unemployment claim in Pennsylvania though you are not a resident of Pennsylvania but have worked that state.

9. What is the eligibility to obtain Extended Benefit?

Extended Benefits (EB) are the added Unemployment Compensation (UC) provided to unemployed who have exhausted his/her regular Pennsylvania Unemployment benefits during periods of high unemployment.

Additionally, there may be added benefits funding by the Federal government, that Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits.

Unemployment Compensation benefits will be payable to the qualified individual.  While considering Pennsylvania Extended Benefit Period the compensation will be paid for the extensive weeks. The eligibility is applicable to the claimants who meet the Extended Benefits standards and criteria including additional eligibility provision that is not applicable Unemployment Compensation.

10. What is the process to claim Extended Benefit?

As a claimant if you are eligible and receiving the maximum benefit under Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), it notifies those who have received their entire regular benefits that they may be eligible for Extended Benefits. Once you receive the notification from the Financial Determination through mail you can process for the claim.

You should receive the notification from your Financial Determination within ten days of your Emergency Unemployment Compensation payment if not you may contact to UC Service Center over the toll free number 1-888-313-7284 and clarify whether you are eligible for claiming or not.