Pennsylvania Unemployment Insurance Weekly Benefits

Unfortunately, with the downturn in the economy, there is an increase in the number of people who are filing for jobless benefits. However, you must know a few things before you visit your Pennsylvania Unemployment Office, so you are more ready for the process, the paperwork and the requirements. Filing for your jobless benefits is often very confusing and difficult. It appears that it simply compounds strain of not having a job, and just draws on your self-esteem and confidence. Despite this, before you start your paperwork to file for laid-off benefits at your PA unemployment office, you can effortlessly register on their website and attempt to find a new job at the two websites that they provide employment information.

Determining Your Benefits Amount

Base Year and Benefit Year

The base period is the time period during which wages earned and/or hours/weeks worked are examined to determine a worker’s monetary right to unemployment insurance. Almost all states utilize the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters prior to filing of the claim as their base period.

The benefit year is a 1-year or 52-week period for the period of which a worker may collect benefits based on a previous period of employment. In all states, the starting date of the benefit year depends on when a worker initially filed a “valid claim,” meaning the worker employment requirements and minimal wage.

Extended Base Periods (EBP)

A number of states permit workers who have no wages in the current base period to make use of older wages and employment under definite conditions. These situations usually involve injury or illness.

For instance, a worker who was hurt during the job and who has obtained workers’ compensation benefits may use wages and employment and wages before the date of the worker’s injury to ascertain eligibility. Some state laws may describe these base periods as “alternative” base periods.

In Pennsylvania, EBP is the last 4 completed quarters immediately prior to the date of the injury if the worker was qualified for worker’s current BP (Base period).

Qualifying Wages or Employment

All states need a worker to have earned a definite amount of wages or to have worked for a definite period of time (or both) within the base period to be financially eligible to collect any UI benefits. Most workers are entitled for benefits based on employment and wages in a single state. On the other hand, some workers who work in more than one state will not have adequate employment and wages in any single state to set up monetary eligibility, or would be entitled for a smaller WBA. Workers with wages and employment in more than one state can opt to file a claim combining wages and employment earned in all states where they worked into a claim filed under the law of any of the states they worked.

To make sure you qualify for benefits, check out PA unemployment eligibility section.

The qualifying formula for wages and employment used by Pennsylvania is 16 credit weeks and at least 20% BPW (Base period wage) out of HQ (High quarter).

The minimum wages needed to qualify for UI in Pennsylvania is $800 for high quarter and $1,320 for base period.

Weekly Amount Benefit

After settling on if a worker has adequate wages and/or employment to be eligible for UI benefits, it is important to determine the weekly benefit amount- the sum payable for a week of total unemployment will be. Unemployment insurance is designed to offer partial wage replacement. For this reason, all workers do not obtain the same benefit amount.

Methods of Calculating Weekly Benefits:


Pennsylvania uses the high quarter method to calculate the weekly benefit amounts.

High-Quarter Method: This quarter is viewed as the period most nearly reflecting fulltime work for the worker. By dividing this sum by 13- the number of weeks in a calendar quarter-the average weekly wage is computed. Depending on the percentage of the weekly wage in the state intends to substitute, the weekly wage is divided and the weekly benefit is computed.

Method of calculating and formula for Pennsylvania is:

HQ (High Quarter Formula)

1/23 – 1/25 + DA (Dependent’s Allowance)

The minimum weekly benefit amount is $35-$43 and the maximum ranges from $573 – $581.

The minimum wages required for maximum WBA:

  • High quarter-$14,898
  • Base period- $22,840

Waiting Period

Workers who are otherwise entitled for benefits should first serve a waiting period in most of the states. In many states, the waiting period condition for weeks of partial unemployment is the same as for weeks of total unemployment. The waiting period is served in or with respect to a particular benefit year. When a worker, after intervening employment, has an added spell of unemployment that continues beyond the end of the first benefit year, the worker may not have to provide another waiting week if he is financially eligible for benefits in the second year.

Benefits for Partial Unemployment

Frequently, instead of being laid-off, workers may have their hours reduced during an economic recession. Or jobless workers may get short-term work while seeking for a permanent full-time job. These conditions describe partial unemployment.

In Pennsylvania,

  • Definition of Partial Unemployment – week of less than full-time work if earnings are less than WBA + 2/5 WBA
  • Earnings Disregarded in computing weekly benefit for partial unemployment: Greater of $6 or 2/5 WBA

Dependent’s Allowances

Though wages brought in during the base period is the most important factor in determining the size of the payment a claimant obtains each week, some states’ laws offer a dependent’s allowance above and beyond the basic benefit amount payable. The meaning of dependent, for UI purposes, differs from state to state as does the allowance granted. In general, a dependent must be wholly or mainly assisted mainly or wholly by the worker or living with or acquiring usual assistance by the worker.

All states with dependents’ allowances comprise children under a specified age. In the state of Pennsylvania the maximum number of dependents allowed is 2.

Duration of Benefits

When states calculate a worker’s financial eligibility for benefits, in addition to computing the weekly benefit amount, they determine the period of benefits- how long benefits can be received. The duration is normally measured as a number of weeks of total unemployment. Maximum weeks of benefits differ from 26 to 30 weeks, most frequently 26 weeks.

In state of Pennsylvania, a worker with no less than 18 credit weeks is qualified for 26 weeks; with at least 16 credit weeks. A credit week is the one in which claimant earned at least $50.

Non-monitary Eligibility

Apart from wages earned, PA requires you to meet certain employment criteria in order to receive the benefits.

Primarily, you must have lost job through no fault of your own. Even if you give up job because of low pay or because you have a long commute, you are usually not eligible. If you are preparing to stop, ensure you realize this fact. There are some unusual situations such as unfriendly work environment in which case you may get the unemployment insurance if you are able to confirm it so.

Second criteria is that you should be healthy and able to work. In case you have physical hardship, then you may not be entitled and if you have disability insurance, you should get in touch with your insurance provider to obtain compensation. You are also required to search for work even though you are not getting favorable replies. If you need more details on this, refer to PA unemployment eligibility guide.

Pennsylvania requires no less than 16 weeks of covered employment (employer should have paid unemployment taxes on your part). You may be not qualified for the benefits if you take part in a work stoppage that is decided by the Department to be a strike.

You may be ineligible for benefits if you fail to take part in re-employment services to which you have been referred through the claimant profiling system. The claimant profiling system has been intended help the claimants who may benefit the maximum from reemployment services. If chosen, you must take part in this obligatory program of reemployment services.

If you have met the entire eligibility criterion, then you can get ready with paperwork to file the application. Though you can file by mail or phone, online application is the most accurate method to apply for benefits.

Watch this video to know more about Pennsylvania Unemployment Claims.

51 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Unemployment Insurance Weekly Benefits

  1. Sue

    I have a full time employee who also collects social security. If he is involved in a partial reduction in hours must he claim his social security benefit?

    Reply
    1. Rashmi

      If your company has cut your hours, based on the number of hours cut, you might be eligible for unemployment benefits. Typically, if eligible for social security, the number of hours worked will reduce the total weekly amount paid to you.

      Reply
      1. Kerry

        The reduction in monthly benefits for working after enrolling in Social Security only applies if you are under the established retirement age for your date of birth. For me, born in June of 1950, I would be penalized now if I filed for SSI and continued to work. But once I turn 66 in June, if I enrolled in SSI I would not have anything deducted from my monthly SSI for any earned income.

        Reply
  2. Pingback: Unemployment Wages Payment Method in Pennsylvania

  3. harvey fell

    I was working in a job in which I was being paid gross $1,000 per week.

    My current job I make gross $600 per week

    Both jobs were 40 hours and the reason leaving the first job I was not getting paid on time.

    Reply
    1. Rashmi

      If you have wages for past 18 months with the eligibility of working hours then you should be able to get the UI Benefits.

      Reply
  4. Jon

    Im dealing with he said she said comments at my work. The comments were parts of conversations that I heard on the floor. When I went to get clarity on the comments the associate reported me as making rude comments. Even though I have never had a history of this with my company or pervious ones they instantly put me on a final for performance with no other documentation on any other incidents. I did not sign it and currently contesting it. I was told if I make any error I will be fired (not just employee comments). Im in retail so I am required to do a lot. They could easily get me for anything because I am not perfect. If something happens and I lose my job can I get unemployment?

    Reply
  5. Rashmi

    Generally, if you are fired or quit then you will not be eligible. It is better to search for other job and change the company.

    Reply
    1. Deborah

      That is not true Rashmi. You could potentially get unemployment if you lost your job through no fault of your own. If a person is fired then the onus is on the employer to prove that they had ‘just cause” for firing that person. The person must have intentionally done something fairly serious for it to be deemed just cause. Minor errors made infrequently do not qualify as grounds for dismissal. Also there are some scenarios where if a person quit they would also get benefits. Some of the scenarios are: moved to follow spouses job, being harassed at work, etc. The difference if you quit is that the onus shifts to you and you will have to prove that you had just cause to quit your employment.

      Reply
  6. Krista

    Will I be eligible for unemployment if I leave my current job due to my husband being in the military and having to relocate the family? I’ve been at my job for 10 and a half years and may have leave in the next few months.

    Reply
  7. diane rock

    i had alota occurrences with the co.i was with,and they finally let me go.my supervisior said that it would be written that we “seperated”and that i could use him as a refferance.does being”seperated “qualify as being fired? cus he said thats what would be put on my personal record.and do i qualifiy for ui beniefeits?

    Reply
  8. buddy

    I am 60 and quit my job due to I am able to collect suvivior benefits .More then if I was to work at my job.I was told even tho I quit my job and waiting on my first check,I can sign up for unemployment.Is this true?

    Reply
  9. Patricia

    Just called the unemployment office on 5 -7-13. My weekly amount will be 179.00· Is that all wilt 2 depends.

    Reply
  10. Bill Gergely

    I will be 69 on Christmas, collecting Social Security and working part time selling cars three days a week. I will be getting surgery on January 16, 2014 and will be off my part time work for 2 months. Am I eligible for medical disability?

    Reply
    1. Bill Gergely

      I will be 69 on Christmas, collecting Social Security and working part time selling cars three days a week. I will be getting surgery on January 16, 2014 and will be off my part time work for 2 months. Am I eligible for medical disability?

      Reply
  11. Robin

    I have been employed for 8 months.The office manager and her co-worker , didn’t want me to be there from the go.I went to my boss, 4 times. Each time all I ever heard was (its wrong ,but Linda will always win) Most of the people working there have

    been employed for 40 years. (LINDA WILL NOT SPEAK TO ME)
    and constantly talks behind my back,causing others ,not to like me.Due to the bond they have. Lets just say work is a night mare . What can I do? Also not to mention My bosses Kurt,Evan and Leslie and are wonderful. And my landlord and boss have been best friends for years, That is how I got my job.

    STUCK : Help

    Reply
  12. braheem

    I have a seasonal job I worked for 6 months the season is over and was laid off n made over 10,000 gross salery will I b able to collect unemployment

    Reply
  13. kevin

    i was fired from my job due to a failed drug test. i filed for u c benefits and was denied and havent been employed since does that mean i can collect unemployment ever.

    Reply
    1. Sam

      You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

      Reply
  14. Malissa

    My husband just received a 10 day unpaid suspension at work due to some damage on his work van. It was going to be 30 days but the union negotiator got it to 10. If I make him apply for benefits is this something that would be eligible? 10 days without his check is going to kill us and my hours were reduced to half and I did not apply because it is a pain but his salary pays all of our bills. I kind of want him to do it just to make someone at that jerk company deal with the paperwork. This ‘punishment’ is barbaric and ridiculous. He has been there for 16 years with no prior incidents.

    Reply
    1. Sam

      I don’t think your husband will be eligible for temporary time off from work.

      Please check further with the Unemployment Office in your state.

      Reply
      1. Malissa

        Oh he applied and got approved but I am waiting to see if it goes through or verizon fights it. Make someone work to fight it. I have fought claims for my employer and was told…we aren’t saying you didn’t have the right to fire them but they are entitled to benefits. So I think there are many times that they could go either way. Plus if Verizon does not fight it, we have that chance. they can’t just toss someone in the street for 2 weeks for Having a minor accident. Total BS.

        Reply
      2. Malissa

        Update! Got a determination today! PA approved my husband’s unemployment even though Verizon stated he violated a rule by not reporting his accident immediately (it was same day but he finished what he was doing and it happened on Verizon property). Here is what they said: in situations where the claimant is suspended for violating a rule, the burden of proof is on the employer o show that the claimant was aware, or should have been aware, of the rule WAS DISMISSAL. In order to qualify for benefits once this is established, the burden shifts to the CLAIMANT to show good cause for his actions. In this situation, the punishment for violation of the rule was not dismissal. as such, the Claimant’s actions do not constitute willful misconduct and benefits MUST BE ALLOWED under Section 402E.
        DETERMINATION: The claimant is ELIGIBLE for benefits! Verizon can appeal but it sounds like that would be pointless!!!!!!!

        Reply
  15. tami ferretti

    I have traveled from Arkansas to work from mid December until February 5th 2016, am I entitled to any benefits at all

    Reply
    1. Sam

      To qualify for UI benefits, one needs to have at least 4 quarters of active employment. If you would like to apply on the basis on your last employment which I assume lasted for just under 3 months, you will not qualify.

      Reply
  16. Tiffany

    what happens when you reach zero in your initial claim it would only let me file for one week? is there another claim I need to file for?

    Reply
    1. Sam

      If there is no money left in your account, you may not be able to file.

      Please check further with the Unemployment Office.

      Reply
  17. C. Vinosky

    I worked the first and second quarter of 2016. The calculator only lists the first quarter of 2016. As the second quarter ended June 30th does that also count toward my calculation and 16 weeks minimum requirement.

    Reply
    1. Sam

      The base period consists of 4 of the last 5 calendar quarters which implies the immediate last quarter (April to June) will not be taken into consideration.

      Reply
    1. Sam

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

      Reply
  18. Veronica

    My husband was laid off from his job of 10 years in August 2015. He received UC for the full 26 weeks and on his last eligible week of UC he was hired! Fast forward to 5 months later and he unfortunately was laid off from the new job (last one in, first one out). He is able to apply for UC again next week (52 weeks will be up and his other claim will expire). My question is: when determining his weekly rate, will they take into account his 6 months of UC pay as well or just the weeks during the base year that he worked? (he worked more than the 16 weeks required). His first claim he got the maximum weekly rate. I just want to see if that will change now..

    Reply
  19. khalif

    hi I currently work for the irs and we are seasonal employees , and we get furloughed every year for about 1month to 8months a year. we are about to be furloughed again but im having a hard time figuring out if I would able to collect unemployment. this is Aug-8th. and my highest quarter is 11,557$(jan-mar2016) and no work from may to December. but two weeks of work in april that would fall into the base period making over 145$ a week. but I only have 16weeks of making over 145$ in a week from the time they would be looking at. my job would also be giving us paper work to give to unemployment to show we are being released due to workload.

    Reply
    1. Sam

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state and apply accordingly since each state has its own rules in this regard.

      Reply
  20. Brenda Kelley

    I had a work related injury at work a year ago and now will require surgery. Workers comp is disputing the injury and are not paying me unless my surgery post operative report shows it was work related. I was given restrictions by my orthopedic MD that I can work with restrictions. My boss called me and said they can not accommodate my work restrictions. My attorney told me to apply for UC benefits because i am available for work but they can not accommodate the restrictions. Am i eligible for UC benefits under those conditions

    Reply
    1. Sam

      Well, UC benefits are only available to those who’re able and available for work. It looks like you will be unable to carry out regular duty due to the surgery. Under such circumstances, you will not be eligible.

      Reply
  21. Derrick Davis

    Hi I have a combined wage claim initially started in Pa with other earnings from another state that will be added together to qualify me for more then adequate enough earnings. High quarter was 28,000 and total 4 quarters is $71,000. My issue is now i received my determination stating that i do not qualify for benefits because i only have 16 “CREDIT WEEKS” INSTEAD OF A MINIMUM OF 18! But i have so much more then that! I have 28 if i counted correctly. Dont my other credit weeks from the othet state get pulled over and added towards the 16 “credits weeks” that I had worked in Pa?????? Since it is a COMBINED WAGE CLAIM????

    Reply
    1. Sam

      If you see a potential dispute, please call the Claims Center to understand the methodology used in calculating the benefit amount.

      Reply
      1. Derrick Davis

        Thanks. Already taken care of. The other state that they used my earnings from, reported my wages but not my credit weeks. So I supplied them with all of my dates of employment and layoff dates and were able to verify and process my claim finally. Where I was eligible.

        Reply
  22. Gwen

    I worked the first and second quarter of 2016 the month of February and March. The calculator lists only the first quarter of 2016 and after I inserted my gross wages for 2016 first quarter (Jan, Feb, Mar), the calculator determined I am “Eligible” and the amount I would be paid weekly. I received my “Notice of Financial Determination” letter today and it states that I am NOT financially eligible for benefits. I also noticed the “Total Wages Paid” column amount of $5551.00 for the first quarter is lower than what I calculated from my pay stubs which is $6720.00 which is the total gross amount for the months of Feb. and March of 2016. The Calculator says one thing but my determination letter says different. What should I do and is it something that I am calculated wrong?

    Reply
    1. Gwen

      I also forgot to mention from my comment above that I worked for a Temporary Staffing Agency and the assignment only lasted for five months and ended due to Lack of Work. I continue to call for work but nothing is available at this time. Thank You.

      Reply
    2. Sam

      Well, the calculator only provides an “Estimate” on the basis of the input provided by you. The decision to grant/deny benefits is made by the Unemployment Office.

      Please call them to ascertain the exact reason for denial on the basis of which you can decide to appeal.

      Reply

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