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Unemployment Benefits in Pennsylvania: How to Apply and What to Expect

The unemployment PA rate drops slightly but many people may have already experienced being on a tightrope after losing their job or their source of income. In addition, during these tough times of coping with the pandemic, many establishments had no choice but to lay off employees.

Many businesses did not survive the drastic changes in the country’s economy, leaving them with a lot of profit loss. These are several reasons why the US government established unemployment benefits, insurance, and compensations to help citizens who lost their job and their expenses while reviving from the setback.

Unemployment PA Benefits

Unemployment benefits are federal government programs that aim to assist individuals who just lost their job either due to being laid off or other reasons so long as it is not the employee’s fault.

Many unemployment programs are available in different states, although different rules are applied from state to state. These programs are prevalent and have been a priority of the federal government ever since 2019 when the pandemic caused millions of workers to be laid off and businesses to close.

Although from 2020 until the present, the US economy began to revive after a year of upheaval. This marked a positive omen as the federal government acquired about a 10-year reconciliation budget for benefit programs with an amount of 3.5 trillion dollars.

Unemployment Insurance

This is a kind of unemployment benefit. Unemployment insurance is more focused on employees who are going through accidents, injuries, sickness and are unable to work. This kind of program pays for the employee’s expenses while s/he is not capable of attending to their job. In this case, the employee is not laid off or removed from his/her job, but only temporarily relieved from it while s/he is recovering.

Some unemployment insurance is managed by the employer. The length of time that the insurance is in function depends on the policy of the insurance program. It can be either of the following:

  • Short-term - This approximately lasts a few months up to two years; while
  • Long-term - This approximately lasts for a few years or until the employee has fully recovered.

If your employer did not enroll you in an insurance policy, you can file for one. You can inquire at Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Insurance for more information.

Unemployment Compensation

This is another kind of unemployment benefit that can be claimed by working individuals who temporarily cannot attend their job. When we say unemployment compensation, this refers to the compensation or paid expenses for the employee who is

  1. Injured while working;
  2. Incapable of attending to the job;
  3. Got ill due to hazards at work; or
  4. Has a relative who died due to hazards in the workplace.

In this case, the institution is the one responsible for paying the following expenses of the employee:

  • Medical expenses while recovering; and
  • Wage payment while the employee is still incapable of going back to work.

If you happen to be injured while working and your employer has not taken action yet, it is best to get help from the compensation program in your state by filing a compensation claim.

Additional Information About Unemployment Compensation

  1. Employees that are working for the Department of Energy have hazardous jobs like coal mining, weapons working, harbor working, or longshore work and are very much qualified for unemployment compensation.
  2. Some state and government institutions provide hazard benefits for their employees as well.

Application for an Unemployment Benefit

The requirements and qualifications for enrolling in an unemployment benefit may vary depending on the state you live or work. However, the following are the basic requirements that you must meet:

  • Should be currently unemployed or relieved from their job due to reasons that are not their fault (this can be when the worker had an accident, injury, or has been laid off);
  • Should meet the required base period of the state you are in (this refers to the working hours and the amount of wage you earned in a certain period of time); and Other work-related requirements that are asked by your local state.

In some states like Pennsylvania, they ask for other specific unemployment requirements like:

  • A government ID, any valid ID, or company ID where you work;
  • Bank account details for direct deposit;
  • Employee’s information;
  • Reason for leaving your work; or
  • Working duration you had with your employer;

If you want full details of the requirements and qualifications for applying for unemployment benefits in the state where you work, it is best to visit the official website of the Department of Labor. This will give you access to the specific requirements of each state.

The Process of Application

If you just lost your job, or an accident and/or injury that disabled you to attend your job, it is advisable that you file your claim as early as possible. In filing your claim, you can do any of the following:

  • Visit your state’s unemployment insurance office and ask for assistance in filing a claim;
  • Open your browser and visit the official site of the US Department of Labor.
  • Call your state’s unemployment insurance hotline if available; if not
  • Call the DOL hotline: 1-877-889-5627 and freely ask for assistance.

Can I Reopen an Existing Unemployment Claim?

Yes, if you have already filed a claim the previous year but refrained from filing and accepting claims after being able to find a new job, you do not have to file another employment claim if you lose your job again.

This will lessen the burden of starting the process all over again because you already have a previous record in the program.

You just have to ask the state’s unemployment insurance office to re-open your insurance account and all you have left to do is to file your weekly certification to get your benefits.

To file for a weekly certification you can do it in several ways:

  • Online (in the official website of the state you work or live);
  • Through TTY services by calling 1-877-889-5627; or
  • Through videophone services available in your state.
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