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If your employer remains in operation but cannot work due to COVID-19, you may wish to use paid leave rather than filing for UC.
You cannot collect both paid leave and UC at the same time. However, you can file a claim for UC benefits if you know you will exhaust all of your paid leave. Remember: you must report all income received from any source, including paid leave, paid sick, paid time off, paid vacation, and paid comp time.
Check with your employer to see if the following benefits are available to you:
Workers' Compensation (WC) Benefits
- Paid sick time
- Paid time off
- Paid vacation time
- Short-term disability insurance
- Any additional resources
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
To learn more about the WC process, please visit www.dli.pa.gov.
Unpaid Wage Claims
If you have been laid off and have not received your last paycheck or compensation you are owed, payment to you is required by state law. If your regular payday has passed without payment, contact the Pennsylvania Bureau of Labor Law Compliance by calling 1-800-932-0665. You can learn more and submit a claim by visiting the wage payment page on www.dli.pa.gov.
U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)
SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing during the pandemic.
SBA provides assistance to the hardest-hit small businesses, nonprofits, and venues that are struggling to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. SBA provides funding for forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and nonprofits experiencing significant revenue losses, fund grants to shuttered venues, and other lending programs. This critical assistance provides small business owners with the capital they need to survive the pandemic and includes critical resources for the smallest businesses.
For additional information, contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center by calling 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339), e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or referencing FAQs.
The Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop is a state government office equipped with knowledge, information, and resources for businesses both large and small. Serving as the first point of contact for Pennsylvania business development concerns, our team helps connect and guide businesses through all stages of development — from planning and startup to operating and expanding. Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur or existing business, we provide complete, customer-focused service backed by firsthand knowledge and experience.
The Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop can be reached by telephone at:
Tel: 1 (833) 722-6778
Regular business hours are from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday-Friday, excluding state holidays.
Looking for work? Register on PA CareerLink® and use the job search function to explore new occupations. There are several other resources on the site like links to virtual trainings, job counselors, and more.
You should speak with your previous employer to ask if you will still be covered by your employer's benefits and, if so, for how long. Some employers may consider employees collecting UC to be in "unpaid with benefits" status, and those individuals may be able to maintain their health insurance coverage through their previous employer.
If you are no longer receiving health insurance through your employer, you may be eligible to enroll in COBRA to continue your current health coverage, or you may purchase health insurance through Pennie, Pennsylvania's state-based health insurance marketplace. At Pennie, Pennsylvanians can shop, compare, and enroll in quality health insurance plans. If you recently lost coverage, you can apply and enroll in coverage through Pennie using a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) throughout the year. Otherwise, the Open Enrollment Period to enroll in 2022 coverage begins November 1, 2021 and ends January 15, 2022. We encourage uninsured Pennsylvanians to visit pennie.com to explore their options and get covered. For more information about Pennie and how to enroll, you can call 1-844-844-8040.
For additional health insurance information, visit the Pennsylvania Insurance Department's Health Insurance Options page or call 1-877-881-6388. If you believe you are eligible for Medicaid, you can also use COMPASS to sign up for Medical Assistance. COMPASS is an online tool for Pennsylvanians to apply for many health and human service programs like Medicaid and CHIP. Visit COMPASS at www.compass.state.pa.us.
You should act quickly if you do not have health insurance. For many plans, you must enroll within 60 days of a "qualifying event," which may be either your separation from your employer or the last day on which your previous employer covered you under their insurance plan.
The Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable, and efficient to all Pennsylvanians:
- All Pennsylvanians age 12 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. Use Vaccine Finder to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
- A commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
- Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.
- The Unite Against COVID Weekly Update is a round-up of news you can use and answers to your most pressing vaccine questions – delivered directly to your inbox every week.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Pennsylvania offers assistance and other services to people and families in need. Pennsylvanians may apply for these services online at www.compass.state.pa.us, by calling the Department of Human Services' Statewide Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930 or at their local County Assistance Office. People who live in Philadelphia should call the Philadelphia Customer Service Center at 215-560-7226. Call volumes and wait times are likely to be high, and we appreciate patience as staff work to assist clients under stressful circumstances.
Available benefits and services include:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for food assistance
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Employment and Training programs
- Health Care Coverage (Medical Assistance, CHIP, Pennie)
- Home Heating Assistance (LIHEAP) from October 18, 2021 through May 6, 2022
- Family Planning Services
- Help with Child Care
- School Meals
- Long-Term Living Services
Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services' website for more information.
SNAP Benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps Pennsylvanians buy food. People who are eligible for SNAP receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ACCESS Card to make food purchases. Some stores in Pennsylvania now accept the ACCESS Card to purchase groceries online. A list of stores accepting online purchases can be found on the SNAP Online Purchasing Program Pilot webpage.
Experiencing a food emergency and need food right away? Help is available. Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services' website, or by calling the Department of Human Services' Statewide Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930. People who live in Philadelphia should call the Philadelphia Customer Service Center at 215-560-7226.
2-1-1 United Way of Pennsylvania Food Assistance
The United Way offers a variety of resources via 2-1-1. Dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to #898-211 to talk with a resource specialist, or visit www.uwp.org/211gethelp/ to browse resources in your community.
PA Food Banks and Pantries
The following Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania member food banks are working on the frontlines with hundreds of food pantries and other local agencies to offer food assistance services in each county. Please contact them directly for assistance. For an interactive map of food pantries, visit the Department of Human Services website. For additional food assistance resources, visit the Department of Agriculture's website at www.agriculture.pa.gov/foodsecurity.
- Alliance for Nonprofit Resources Inc. (serving Butler County)
- Bucks County Opportunity Council Inc. (serving Bucks County)
- Central Pennsylvania Food Bank (serving Adams, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union and York counties)
- Chester County Food Bank (serving Chester County)
- Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County (serving Mercer County)
- Fayette County Community Action Food Bank (serving Fayette County)
- Food for Families (serving Cambria County)
- Food Helpers (serving Washington County)
- Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (serving Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset, and Washington counties)
- Helping Harvest (serving Berks and Schuylkill counties)
- Indiana County Community Action Program (serving Indiana County)
- Philabundance (serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties)
- Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania (serving Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, and Wayne counties)
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania (serving Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Venango, and Warren counties)
- Share Food Program (serving Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties)
- Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank (serving Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, and Wyoming counties)
- Westmoreland County Food Bank (serving Westmoreland County)
- York County Food Bank (serving York County)
Low-income, eligible seniors can receive a box of nutritious food monthly from local distribution sites through the Senior Food Box Program. Among the types of foods included in the food boxes are shelf-stable milk, juice, oats, ready-to-eat cereal, rice, pasta, dry beans, peanut butter, canned meat, poultry, or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables. To learn more about the program and to apply, please visit the PA Department of Agriculture.
Meals for Senior Citizen
For information about meal programs in your area, please contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). To find your AAA, please visit www.aging.pa.gov.
Meals on Wheels
Several nonprofits and community organizations across Pennsylvania are affiliated with Meals on Wheels, which offers meals to home-bound older persons. For more information contact your local Meals on Wheels provider or your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). To find your AAA, please visit www.aging.pa.gov.
The Pennsylvania Utility Commission has directed utilities to offer extended payment terms to eligible residential and small business customers who are behind on their bills through September 30, 2021, to help you reduce your bills and/or your debt.
If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, contact your utility service provider right away. You are encouraged to do this before your bill becomes past due. Many utility service providers offer assistance programs.
- Ask your utility whether they offer a customer assistance program (CAP), especially if there have been recent changes in your household size or income. CAPs can provide reduced monthly bills and/or debt forgiveness. Even if you did not qualify for CAP in the past, you may now be eligible.
- If you are a utility customer on a CAP and you experienced further reductions in household income, check with your utilities to determine whether you qualify for additional assistance or more favorable payment options.
- Discuss your financial situation with your utilities before bills become delinquent to explore other possible options – this could include extended payment plans, budget billing, utility hardship fund grants and/or assistance through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the federal Lifeline program (telecommunications and broadband access funding support to eligible low-income individuals or households).
For information from the federal government regarding help that may be available, please visit http://www.usa.gov/help-with-bills or call 1-844-USA-GOV1 (1-844-872-4681).
2-1-1 United Way of Pennsylvania Utility Assistance
The United Way offers a variety of resources via 2-1-1. Dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to #898-211 to talk with a resource specialist, or visit www.uwp.org/211gethelp/ to browse resources in your community.
Pennsylvania's Weatherization Assistance Program
Pennsylvania's Weatherization Assistance Program increases energy efficiency in homes by reducing energy costs and increasing comfort while safeguarding health and safety. On site energy audits are conducted to assess conditions in homes and to identify the most cost-effective energy saving measures to be installed. Weatherization services include but are not limited to:
- Blower door guided air sealing to effectively locate and reduce air leakage throughout the home
- Installation of attic, wall, basement, and crawlspace insulation and ventilation to reduce energy loss
- Heating system modification or replacement to increase the efficiency and/or safety of the heating system
- Minor repairs, and/or health and safety measures are provided (when necessary) to allow the safe and effective installation of the weatherization measures
- Client education on the proper use and maintenance of the installed Weatherization measures and ways to reduce energy waste every day
To find out more information about which agencies offer weatherization services in your county, please visit the PA Department of Community & Economic Development website.
Program inquiries should be directed to:
PA Department of Community and Economic Development Center for Community Services Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North Street, 4th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225.
If you are unable to make your rent payment, contact your landlord immediately and try to work out an agreement.
Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency
Pennsylvania has a variety of housing programs and services that can help older adults and people with disabilities, individuals and families with low incomes, or those who are at-risk of, or experiencing, homelessness. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency's housing search tool helps people search for housing by topics such as rent amount, area of interest, accessibility, or availability of public transportation. A bi-lingual, toll-free number is also available.
To search for housing visit www.pahousingsearch.com or call Toll-Free: 1-877-428-8844.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can offer rental assistance and counseling. Visit www.hud.gov to learn more or contact a housing counseling agency toll-free by calling 1-800-569-4287.
2-1-1 United Way of Pennsylvania Housing Assistance
The United Way offers a variety of resources via 2-1-1. Dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to #898-211 to talk with a resource specialist or visit www.uwp.org/211gethelp/ to browse resources in your community.
Other Community Resources – Community Action Agencies
The Pennsylvania Community Action network analyzes community needs to identify strategies that will work best in alleviating poverty. Community Action's ultimate goal is to help low-income individuals and their families reach and maintain self-sufficiency. Each of the 42 agencies is unique in their approach to alleviating poverty because their programs and services reflect the needs of the local communities.
PA Community Action Agencies
Contact : 717-233-1075
Families who need child care can find a certified child care provider online at www.findchildcare.pa.gov. Child care providers may enroll school-age children during hours where the school district is not offering traditional in-person school services.
Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs) can help working families find open child care centers. ELRCs can assist families with applying for Child Care Works, Pennsylvania's subsidized child care program, or finding other community resources they may need during this time, such as food pantries. Locate your closest ELRC at www.raiseyourstar.org
Child care providers that are open or are preparing to open must follow guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for child care facilities. Parents are encouraged to review this guidance so they understand mitigation efforts to help keep children and staff safe. Data on cases of COVID-19 among staff and individuals at child care providers can be viewed on DHS's Licensed Facilities webpage. The information has been tracked since March 19, 2020.
If you have seen a reduction in pay due to COVID-19 and are struggling to make your credit card or loan payments, contact your lender right away. Explain your situation and ask about hardship programs that may be available. Regulatory agencies have encouraged financial institutions to work with customers impacted by the coronavirus.
Trouble Paying Credit Cards
Credit card companies and lenders may be able to offer you a number of options to help you. This could include waiving certain fees like ATM, overpayments, and late fees, as well as allowing you to delay, adjust, or skip some payments.
For more information regarding credit cards, mortgages, and more, please visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
A credit counselor may be able to assist you with your debt. Find one near you by contacting the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) or calling 1-800-388-2227.
Trouble Paying your Mortgage or Rent
If you can't cover your mortgage payment or rent, contact your lender or landlord immediately. Do not wait until you're behind on payments. Some lenders may work out an agreement with you to waive late fees, set up a repayment plan, or offer loan forbearance.
For mortgage information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov. Find a housing counselor near you by visiting www.hud.gov.
For rental assistance, visit www.hud.gov.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) was created to help renters dealing with financial challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For eligible households, the program offers rental and utility assistance to help renters and landlords avoid eviction or loss of utility service. Find more information and begin the application process today.
Student Loans Deferment
If you are in a short-term financial bind, you may qualify for a deferment or a forbearance. With either of these options, you can temporarily suspend your payments. Visit the Federal Student Aid Office website for further guidance and contact your loan servicer to learn more about your options.
Private student loans and some federal student loans may be excluded from the CARES Act payment freeze. The Attorney General's office has partnered with Summer, a social enterprise that assists student loan borrowers, to provide free student loan assistance to simplify and save on your student debt.
Pennsylvania residents can now access Summer's digital platform and its student loan experts free of charge to receive customized loan savings recommendations at meetsummer.org/pa.
Short Term and Emergency Loans
Consider your options before taking out a high-cost short-term loan. Talk with your creditors to negotiate more time to pay bills, borrow from friends or family, or explore low-interest loans offered by local banks and credit unions.
If you do take out a short-term loan, make sure the lender is licensed with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities and borrow only what you can afford to pay back. Find out more at www.dobs.pa.gov, or by calling 1-800-PA-BANKS.
Support and Referral Helpline: The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has partnered with the Center for Community Resources to offer a 24/7 mental health and crisis support line for people dealing with anxiety or other difficult emotions. Callers will be able to speak with staff who are trained in trauma-informed principles and will listen, assess the person's needs, triage, and refer to other local supports and professionals as needed.
The Support & Referral Helpline can be reached toll-free, 24/7 at 1-855-284-2494 (TTY: 724-631-5600).
The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs' Get Help Now Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889, is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations for individuals with a substance use disorder or their loved ones. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
Mental Health in PA offers additional resources from the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) for mental health and substance use disorder. Resources include:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Línea Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
- Crisis Text Line: Text "PA" to 741-741
- Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
A comprehensive resource for mental health wellness in Pennsylvania is available at www.pa.gov/guides/mental-health.
Public transportation is available in every county in PA. For more information on fixed route or shared ride services in your local area, contact your local transit agency.