Filing a Biweekly Claim
After filing your initial application for UC benefits, you will receive a Claims Confirmation letter in the mail. This letter will provide you with your 4 digit PIN necessary to file your biweekly claim. This letter will also provide the date you will file your first biweekly claim, which is generally the second Sunday after completing your initial application for benefits.
When you file a biweekly claim, you will be filing for two weeks at a time. For UC purposes, a week is a calendar week that begins Sunday and ends Saturday. Although you will file for two weeks at one time, you will certify your eligibility for each week separately.
For those impacted by COVID-19, if you are offered work by your employer and refuse to accept it, without good cause, you may no longer be eligible for UC. Learn more in the "My employer offered me my job back, but I would make more staying on Unemployment. Can I do this?" FAQ on our UC Benefits FAQ page.
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File a Biweekly Claim
Quick Tips on Filing Biweekly Claims
To be unemployed, you must have a loss in both work hours and pay or "earnings."
Did You Work?||Answer Yes if you worked at all during the week or if your employer paid you (regular wages, supplemental payments or any type of paid leave including vacation pay, sick leave or Paid Time Off (PTO)), to be off work for the COVID emergency. You must report your earnings. |
When you answer Yes, the next question will be:
You worked; (if you worked your normal full-time hours or will be paid the equivalent of your normal full-time hours due to the COVID emergency, you are not entitled to benefits for the week.) Did you work your normal full-time hours, or will you be paid wages equal to your normal full-time wages?
To avoid claim delays, properly report your earnings.
Earnings include your gross earnings from any work performed, as well as full or partial salary, even if actual work was not performed.
Potential earnings are any earnings you could have made, but you turned down the work.
Vacation pay: Answer No to the question “Did you or will you receive vacation pay?” if your vacation pay is related to COVID-19. If your vacation pay is related to COVID-19, you will report it by answering YES to “Did you Work?” and reporting that vacation pay as earnings.
Were you able and available for work?
Being confined to home does not necessarily mean you are not available to accept work. If you plan on returning to your employer after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, or you could work from home if requested, you are Available. You are Able to work if you are mentally and physically capable of performing a job for which a labor market exists.
NOTE: THE DEPARTMENT CANNOT PAY YOU FOR WEEKS UNLESS A TIMELY BIWEEKLY CLAIM HAS BEEN FILED.
The best way to file your biweekly claim is online from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
You also can file by phone by using the PA Teleclaims (PAT) system. Call 888-255-4728 (TTY services for the deaf and hard of hearing: 888-334-4046), from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Filing Biweekly Claims by TTY
You may file your biweekly claims using TTY. More information on TTY filing is available here.
Receiving Benefit Payments
Benefit payments are issued by direct deposit or debit card.
After you have filed an initial application, the first week of the benefit year for which you are unemployed and eligible for benefits is called the "waiting week." However, the Waiting Week requirement 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.
The date of each Saturday is called the compensable week ending (CWE) date. Your earnings and eligibility during each week determine whether you are entitled to benefits for that week and any amount of benefits payable to you.
For each week that you are claiming benefits, you must report all work and gross wages earned during that week, regardless of when they are paid. Earnings can be anything you receive for work you do. Earnings include cash, credit on purchases, meal allowances, lodging, tips, Military Reserve or National Guard Pay for federal active duty and the two-week training camp, and any other kind of payment you receive in exchange for work or service you perform.
You must also report any hours of work you missed when work was available to you and provide the gross wages you could have earned for the hours absent. You may be disqualified for benefits or prosecuted under the Pennsylvania UC Law if you fail to report all work and earnings, and any hours of work that you missed.
Partial Benefit Credit
You may earn up to 30 percent of your weekly benefit rate in each claim week before your earnings affect your weekly benefit payment. This 30 percent of your weekly benefit rate is your "partial benefit credit." Any amount that you earn over the partial benefit credit earned in a week will be deducted from your weekly benefit rate dollar-for-dollar. When reporting earnings for a calendar week, always give the actual amount of gross earnings. The amount is rounded up to the highest dollar amount (i.e., $76.07 = $77) when determining the amount payable for the week.
Partial earnings are to be reported in the week earned, not in the week in which they were paid. All earnings must be reported, even if they are less than the partial benefit credit.
The following example shows how the partial benefit credit works:
A person becomes unemployed and applies for UC benefits, and is determined to have a weekly benefit rate of $200. With a weekly benefit rate of $200, the partial benefit credit is $60 (30% of $200 = $60). This means that the claimant could earn up to $60 and still receive the full $200 in UC benefits for that week.
After being unemployed for a few weeks, the claimant found a part-time job that pays $99.25 (rounded up to $100) a week. The claimant is required to report the gross amount of part-time earnings when filing for benefits. The easiest way to figure the amount of benefits payable to the claimant for the week is to add the weekly benefit rate and the partial benefit credit together and subtract the weekly earnings.
In this example, if the claimant had earnings of $260 or more in any given week, there would be no benefits payable for that week.
Holiday pay must be reported for the week in which the holiday occurs, regardless of when paid. Holiday pay is always deductible using the same partial benefit credit formula described for receiving partial benefit credit.
It is your responsibility to report all vacation pay. If you receive vacation pay and you are in temporary layoff status with an expected date of recall, your vacation pay will be deducted from your benefits using the same partial benefit credit formula described for receiving partial benefit credit. However, if your layoff is permanent or indefinite, vacation payments will not be deducted from your weekly benefits.
Supplemental Unemployment Benefits
Employers and unions in certain industries have set up plans to pay supplemental unemployment benefits (SUB) to employees who are laid off. These benefits are paid from a privately-operated fund. Such benefits are in addition to UC benefits paid by the state. More detailed information about SUB can be obtained from the pamphlet UCP-8, State Unemployment Compensation and Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plans.
Have you lost your health insurance? Visit PA Insurance Department's Health Insurance Options webpage for information on options available to you and your family.