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Unemployment Compensation


Unemployment Compensation Benefits are designed to help workers who lose their job through no fault of their own. Upon loss of their job, any unemployed person may file a claim for Unemployment Compensation Benefits.

Unemployment Compensation Benefits are cash benefits paid to an eligible worker after he/she provides proof that the job loss was not his/her fault. If an employed person qualifies for benefits, he/she will receive weekly checks and help in locating other employment.

Pennsylvanians may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of regular state-funded UC benefits. If an unemployed person exceeds the maximum of 26 weeks, federal unemployment compensation benefits are available. Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or EUC, is a temporary federal program that provides up to a maximum of 53 weeks of unemployment benefits to claimants who qualify.


What is an Employer?

The individual or organization who hires a person for some portion of a single day during the year is an employer. Employers include:

  • Associations
  • Corporations
  • Individuals
  • Partnerships
  • Some Nonprofit Organizations
  • State and Local Governments
  • Trustees


Who is the Employee?

The individual who works or has worked for an employer is the employee. Generally, an employee must have worked a certain number of weeks in the prior one-year period in order to be eligible for benefits. The employee's benefit amount is based upon his or her average weekly wage.


What is Employment?

Employment is Work performed by an employee for an employer; however, there are exceptions. Certain workers are not eligible for Unemployment Compensation benefits. The following workers are generally not eligible for Unemployment Compensation Benefits:

  • Agricultural workers
  • Domestic Service Workers
  • Employing a family member (son, daughter, spouse, children under age 18)
  • Handicapped persons in rehabilitation programs
  • Inmates in State Correction Institutions
  • Newspaper deliverers under age 18
  • Non-Resident Aliens
  • Persons in Certified Work-Training Programs
  • Persons covered under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act
  • Students
  • Persons Employed by International Organizations
  • Student Nurses & Interns

Am I Eligible for Unemployment Compensation Benefits?

After filing an application for UC benefits, there are three basic steps to determining your eligibility for unemployment compensation.

Step One: Determining Financial Eligibility

The local Unemployment Office will make sure you earned sufficient wages from an employer. After you file a claim, you will receive a notice of financial determination indicating whether you are financially eligible.

Step Two: Determining Benefit Eligibility

If you are deemed financial eligible, the local Unemployment Office will then determine whether you lost your job through no fault of your own. This decision is based on the information you supply when you file for benefits, and information collected from your former employer.

Step Three: Maintaining Eligibility

A person receiving Unemployment Compensation benefits must meet various tests on a week-to-week basis. For example, you must be able and available to accept suitable work, not refuse work when offered without good cause and participate in reemployment services if required.)

Remember: The law changes. Each case is different. This is meant to give you general information and not to give you specific legal advice.


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