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Filing for Unemployment Compensation FAQs

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I am a Pennsylvania resident laid off from a job in another state, where should I file a claim for unemployment benefits?

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Generally, first you should identify the state, or states, where you worked and were paid wages during your base year.

If you have earned wages in only one state during your base year period, you should file for unemployment compensation (UC) with the state where you worked. If you have earned wages in more than one state during your base year period, you must file a Combined Wage Claim (CWC) by contacting one of the states where you worked and were paid wages during your base year.

More information is available on other state's unemployment services.

If you need assistance in determining the state where you should file your UC claim, you should contact the UC service center by phone at 888-313-7284.

I was laid off last month and didn't file an Application for Benefits right away. Can I get paid for those weeks?

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An Application for Benefits is effective the Sunday that begins the week in which you apply for benefits. If you have not already done so, please contact the UC service center to request backdating of your application to the week in which you were laid off. The service center will make a determination on your request to backdate your application for benefits and claim(s) for missed weeks.

An application for benefits may be backdated in only a very limited number of circumstances. Generally, backdating is permitted only where the individual did not file timely claims, through no fault of his/her own.

I’m collecting severance pay from my employer. Should I wait until I’m no longer collecting severance pay to file my application?

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No, if you are collecting severance pay, or are going to be collecting severance pay, file your application as soon as you become unemployed. The answers you provide in your application regarding severance pay will help determine the impact severance pay may, or may not, have on your eligibility for benefits. Before a determination can be issued, additional information will also be requested from you and/or your employer. See the Severance Pay Deductions FAQs page for further information.

I received a new full-time job. Do I need to report this to the UC service center?

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Notify the UC service center immediately if you return to work. If you return to work full time with your former employer or a new employer, you are no longer eligible for benefits. However, remember to file claims for weeks you were unemployed before you returned to work.

When do I receive a personal identification number (PIN), the UCP-1 (UC handbook), and a UC debit card?

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You receive a PIN , the UCP-1 handbook and a UC debit card (if financially eligible) at the start of a new UC claim. If you have lost your PIN or no longer have your old PIN, request a new PIN via our online form. If your UC debit card is lost or compromised, you may request a new one from US Bank at 888-233-5916 or online at Reopening your claim or starting an EUC claim does not trigger a new mailing for these items. If you are financially ineligible, you will not receive a debit card.

How can I check the status of my initial claim?

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If you filed on the internet, you should receive an email confirmation after you file your claim. In the first week you will receive three mailings: Notice of Financial Determination (UC-44F), UC Claim Confirmation Letter (UC-360) and the PA UC Handbook (UCP-1). If you don’t receive these mailings, download and complete the fax cover sheet, and fax it to the UC service centers at 717-525-5160. A UC service center representative will call to assist you. Check your claim status.Note: A determination regarding your separation from employment could take 4-6 weeks, so continue to file your biweekly claims during that time.

I don't live in Pennsylvania, but worked there, and need to file for unemployment. Where should I file for benefits?

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You should file for benefits in the state where the wages were earned.

My name has changed. How can I change it on my claim

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Call the UC service center at 888-313-7284 and a representative will assist you.

How long does my claim stay open?

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When you are granted benefits, your benefit year provides you with a 52-week period beginning with the date of your application for unemployment compensation benefits. If you claim the full amount for each week, you will receive your maximum allowance of benefits. This information can be found on your Financial Determination.

Can I re-open my claim myself?

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Yes. You can go to Reopen a Claim Instructions to re-open your claim, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or contact the UC service center.

Please note: If you choose to re-open your claim on line, you will do so by using the “Reopen a Claim” button on the right tabs. The process to re-open a claim is exactly the same as the initial claim process and the entire form must be completed. When you submit the claim, it will be processed as a re-open application, not a new application, as long as you have a current claim in place, i.e. less than one year has passed from your Application for Benefits date. After you hit the submit button, you should print the confirmation page and retain it for your records.

For claims that are being re-opened within one year of their AB date, you will not receive a new handbook, Debit Card or PIN number. If you already had direct deposit established, it will remain active for two years unless there has been 12 months of inactivity. If you received your benefits on your UC Debit Card and no longer have it or it is no longer active, please contact the Debit Card Company at 866-586-1706.

Can I cancel my claim after opening it?

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Yes. If you have decided that you do not want to claim UC and you have not filed for any weeks, you can request to cancel the claim. This will allow you to file a new claim when it is appropriate. If you would like to cancel your current claim, you can mail or fax a signed written request to withdraw the application which explains the reason for the request to the UC service center responsible for your claim (refer to the back of your Unemployment Compensation Handbook for your office).

When do I use a PIN number?

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You are required to use your SSN and PIN to access the following UC services:

  • Changing your address, telephone/fax numbers, email address
  • Changing your federal withholding
  • Change your PIN
  • Check payment information
  • Direct Deposit of UC benefits
  • Filing a biweekly claim for benefits
  • Reopening a claim
  • Requesting a UC-1099G

You can also access additional claim information such as:

  • Your AB (application for benefits) date
  • Your claim balance
  • Your WBR (weekly benefit rate)

PINs are system generated (for security purposes) and mailed to you within 7-10 days of filing a claim. If you have lost your PIN or no longer have your old PIN, request a new PIN.

If you know your current PIN but would like to change it, you can Change Personal Information here.

I am a naturalized or authorized worker. How should I submit my documentation to receive unemployment benefits?

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Every naturalized or authorized worker MUST email or mail legible copies of the front and back of their Social Security Card and Employment (Work) Authorization Document within 14 calendar days to be eligible to receive benefits.

If sending the documents via email, please send to with the email subject as: First & Last Name.

If mailing, please mail to:

651 Boas Street
Central Office, Room 625
Attn: Jen M.
Harrisburg, PA 17121

How does severance, separation or salary continuation pay affect my UC benefits?

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Severance pay received by a claimant that exceeds 40 percent of Pennsylvania's average annual wage* is deducted from the claimant's UC if the claimant's application for benefits (AB) date is on or after Jan. 1, 2012, and the severance pay agreement between the employer and the claimant is entered into on or after Jan. 1, 2012. The deductible portion of a claimant's severance pay is allocated to the weeks immediately following the claimant's separation based on the claimant's full-time weekly wage. Severance pay means one or more payments made by an employer to an employee on account of separation from the service of the employer.

A claimant receives $42,000 in severance pay. Forty percent of Pennsylvania's average annual wage ($50,699.48 for 2017) is $20,280.00. Therefore, $20,280.00 is subtracted from $42,000 equaling $21,720, which is the amount of the claimant's severance pay that is deductible. The claimant was earning $1,200 a week at the time of his separation. Accordingly, the deductible amount of severance pay is allocated at $1,200 per week to the first 18 weeks the claimant is unemployed. Because $1,200 exceeds the maximum weekly UC benefit rate, the claimant would not receive any benefits for this 18-week period. The 19th week would be calculated by taking the remaining severance pay amount of $120.00 to determine eligibility.

This example is to calculate severance pay received in 2017. Please note that the average annual wage is subject to change each year which will change the calculation.

*The average annual wage, for unemployment compensation purposes, is based on the most recent three fiscal years, or 36 months of data. Effective with claim week ending Jan. 7, 2017, the severance pay calculations will change in accordance with the new average annual wage.

Will receiving a pension make me ineligible for UC benefits?

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When filing for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits, you are required to report all pensions, including retirement, retired pay, annuities or other similar periodic payments and lump-sum pension payments. See Pensions on the Potential Reducations page for further information.

May I collect UC benefits while attending school?

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In order to receive benefits, an individual must meet the financial eligibility requirements of the PA UC Law; be unemployed through no fault of his/her own; and be able and available for work. See Am I eligible for UC? for further information.

The PA UC Law does not disqualify you for benefits simply because you are a full or part-time student. Additionally, you will not be ineligible for any claim week that you are in training approved by the secretary of the Department of Labor & Industry and are otherwise eligible.

You may not be eligible for UC benefits if you quit your job to enroll in an academic credit training program. There is no requirement that you must be available for full-time or permanent work. Your work history can be full-time, part-time, or seasonal. However, you must not refuse suitable work when offered. You may also be ineligible if you refuse a referral to a job opportunity. See Benefit Eligibility.