Important Updates related to COVID-19
If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), you may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers' Compensation benefits. The Department of Labor & Industry will continue to provide important employment benefit updates as the situation evolves.
Employers and workers can use our Protecting Yourself at Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic for guidance and resources on safety precautions and recommendations.
PUA Weekly Certification Update
PUA claimants will notice a federally-required change in the weekly claim application for benefits, which was added to Pennsylvania’s PUA application on Friday, June 12. The U.S. Department of Labor requires individuals to certify for each week of PUA benefits claimed that they are unemployed for at least one of the COVID-19 reasons provided in Section 2102 of the CARES Act.
If at any time you are no longer unemployed for one of the COVID-19-related reasons included in Section 2102 of the CARES Act, or your unemployment is due to reasons other than one of these specific pandemic-related reasons from Section 2102 of the CARES Act, then you are no longer eligible for PUA benefits. At that point, you should simply stop filing for weekly PUA benefits.
As an important reminder because individual situations may change over time, the reason(s) for unemployment which you initially provided is not required to match the reason(s) you remain unemployed.
PUA Payment Update
Please Note: This Information Has Been Updated as of June 29, 2020
As part of efforts to combat recent fraudulent activity, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department (Treasury) and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) are transitioning recipients of unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) programs to payment by electronic deposits on debit cards.
You may have previously received one or more weeks of payments in the form of checks. Treasury and L&I implemented payment by check as an immediate, but temporary, response to reports of fraud. Payment by check, however, is a slow and resource-intensive method of distributing benefits, and is also subject to the delivery schedules of the U.S. Postal Service.
PUA CLAIMANTS WHO ALREADY HAVE A U.S. BANK RELIACARD
Treasury has already resumed making payments on debit cards for PUA claimants who previously received a U.S. Bank ReliaCard.1
PUA CLAIMANTS WHO HAVE NOT REQUESTED A U.S. BANK RELIACARD
ReliaCards, which provide a secure, reliable, and prompt method of delivering funds, are being mailed to you at this time. You should expect to receive your card starting from about June 19, 2020, until July 7, 2020.
You do not need to do anything to obtain your U.S. Bank ReliaCard. It will be delivered to you automatically. The ReliaCard will arrive in a plain envelope, with a postmark from Indianapolis, IN. You should be careful not to discard this piece of mail. Please see the entire notice for information and details.
UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (UC) BENEFITS
You may be eligible if:
- Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business
because of COVID-19
- Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
- You have been told not to work because your employer feels you
might get or spread COVID-19
- You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in
a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts
- Online – it's the fastest and easiest way to get started
- If you are eligible for UC, you will receive two letters and a four-digit PIN
- Your PIN will arrive in the U.S. mail – keep it in a safe, easy to remember place
- If approved, your first benefit payment should arrive within four weeks of filing for UC
- Continue filing your bi-weekly claim (every two weeks) – even while waiting for approval
- We are experiencing very large call volumes. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For specific questions about your claim, provide your full name (as it appears on your claim, including any suffix used) and the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Note: Duplicative emails and/or requests may cause delays.
The following rules have been temporarily suspended due to Governor Tom Wolf's emergency declaration to make it easier to file for UC benefits:
- Work Search and Work Registration requirements are temporarily suspended for all UC claimants. Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their UC benefits. Claimants are also not required to register with PACareerLink.pa.gov.
- The Waiting Week is temporarily suspended for all UC claimants. Previously, eligible claimants would not receive compensation for the first week of unemployment. Eligible claimants may now receive benefits for the first week that they are unemployed.
- Please note: federal programs that offer benefits like training, education, skill building and fund benefits, including the Trade Adjustment Assistance program and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act still require claimants to register with PACareerLink.pa.gov to be eligible for the federal benefits. Not registering will not impact an individual’s unemployment benefits; however, it may prevent them from being eligible for other federal benefit opportunities.
PIN & Determinations Information - Updated 4/28/20
PIN and Determinations: If you filed a new Initial Claim application, you will receive a Claim Confirmation Letter via U.S. Postal Service usually within 7-10 business days that will include your Personal Identification Number or PIN.
Due to current volumes, you may not receive your PIN in time to file biweekly, but you will be able to file for all missed weeks dating back to the first week your unemployment began once your PIN arrives.
You will also receive your Notice of Financial Determination Letter via U.S. Postal Service usually within the same timeframe.
If it has been more than 3 weeks, and you have NOT received your PIN, you may submit a PIN Reset Request via our online form.
Reopens: If you just reopened your existing claim, this will be the only time you should do so unless you go back to work and are subsequently unemployed.
A staff member must manually process the reopen that you just submitted, and the department is working through the thousands of reopens we receive, daily.
It may be possible that your biweekly claims are not ready for you to file on your filing date. Please be patient and do not further delay your claim by using this application to reopen your claim, again.
If the biweekly filing system tells you on your filing date that your weeks are inactive, simply try filing your biweekly claims one time each day until you are able to successfully file. Biweekly filing is not available on Saturdays.
If you opened a claim within the last twelve months, your PIN and Notice of Financial Determination were issued when you opened your original claim.
- Important information for CLAIMANTS in BANKRUPCTY – Due to COVID-19, regular mail collection to the Department of Labor & Industry may be delayed or interrupted for the next few weeks due to many commonwealth employees working from home. As a result, if you have sent the department a bankruptcy notice, it may not be reviewed in time to avoid sending you billing notices or automatically offsetting your benefits. To provide us with you bankruptcy notice in a timely fashion, please send information about your bankruptcy to the following resource account at RA-OUCB-BPC@pa.gov. If you are able, please attach a copy of any bankruptcy paperwork to the email to expedite processing. If you are unable to attach the bankruptcy notice, please include your name, bankruptcy number, and the last four digits of your Social Security number on the email. We will make every effort to stop inappropriate collection efforts once we receive your email. If an amount is mistakenly taken by offset, a refund will be made as soon as possible.
WORKERS' COMPENSATION (WC) BENEFITS
Two filing options:
- If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 in your workplace, you may be eligible for Workers' Compensation (WC) by either:
- Notifying your employer to file a typical "disease-as-injury" WC claim, which requires you to provide medical evidence that you were exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace
- Notifying your employer to file an "occupational disease" WC claim, which requires you to show that COVID-19 is occurring more in your occupation/industry than in the general population
- All WC claims (including COVID-19) are thoroughly reviewed, and decisions are made based on the facts and merits of each claim and the law
For the most accurate and timely COVID-19 information in Pennsylvania, visit the PA Department of Health website, health.pa.gov, FacebookOpens In A New Window page and TwitterOpens In A New Window account.