Skip Navigation LinksUC > Unemployment Benefits > File for Benefits > File an Initial Claim

File An Initial Claim

*Beware of fraudulent unemployment websites. Always ensure you are on our site when filing for benefits, changing your personal info, or signing up for direct deposit. We will never ask you to pay for UC services, or ask you for your credit information.


Unemployed workers may file their applications or reopen their existing claims for UC benefits by the following methods:

  • Online: An online application can be filed using our secure website 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
  • Telephone: Call the statewide unemployment compensation toll-free number at 1-888-313-7284 (TTY services for the deaf and hard of hearing 1-888-334-4046).
  • Paper Form: A paper application can be downloaded and mailed to a UC service center.  
  • Videophone service: For individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL) videophone service is available every Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. at 717-704-8474.
    *Sign language is the ONLY means of communication provided through the Videophone.

What's Needed to File for Benefits

To file an application for benefits, you will need the following:

Information about You:

  • Your Social Security number (Information about privacy and your Social Security Number is available here.)
  • Home address & mailing address (if different)
  • Telephone number and valid email address
  • Your PA driver’s license number (if you have one)
  • If you were on active duty in the U.S. military during the past 18 months: DD Form 214, Member 4
  • If you worked for the federal government in the past 18 months: Standard Form 8; Standard Form 50
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen: alien registration number

Information about Your Employer:

  • Name and address of the employer resulting in your claim
  • Date you started or ended work with that employer (if your hours were reduced, use the date of the reduction)
  • Reason for leaving or reducing hours
  • Amount of severance, if any
  • If you worked for any other employers within the last 18 months you will need their names and addresses
  • If you have a copy of your most recent pay stub that will be very helpful but is not required
  • If you would like to sign-up for direct deposit you will need your bank name and address and your account and routing number

file a claim 

If the Worker... The Worker will need...
Worked in another state in the last 18 months All employer names and mailing addresses
Worked for the Federal Government in the last 18 months Information from Standard Form 8, Standard Form 50, W-2's and/or pay stubs
Was in the military in the last 18 months DD 214, Member Copy 4
Is covered under a TAA or NAFTA-TAA Certification The TA-W or NAFTA-TAA petition number

To Receive Partial Benefits

A worker may be eligible for partial benefits if the worker:

  • has received a reduction in regular hours of work because of lack of work;
  • is separated from a job and has obtained other employment working less than full time and earning less than before; or
  • is separated from one job, but continues to have part-time employment with another employer(s).

Subsequent Claims

A worker may be eligible to collect UC benefits on a subsequent claim if the worker:

  • is still unemployed at the end of a benefit year;
  • meets the base-year and eligibility requirements; and
  • has earned at least six times the weekly benefit rate of the first application for benefits (AB) date during the period between the first AB date and the second AB date.

The work between the first and second AB dates may be in full-time, part-time or temporary employment, but must be employment that is covered by the UC Law.

Wages in Other States

If a worker has wages in another state, the worker may be able to establish a claim against that state after the maximum entitlement to Pennsylvania UC benefits has been exhausted.

Receiving First Benefit Payment

Workers eligible for benefits should receive their first benefit payment within four weeks after applying for benefits.