File a Biweekly Claim or Weekly Certification
Eligibility for regular UC must be Identified before filing for PUA. If you are eligible for regular state UC (in PA or any other state); then you cannot claim PUA.
Filing for the same claim weeks on more than one program is considered fraud.
After filing your initial application for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits, you will receive a Claims Confirmation letter in the mail. This letter will provide
- Your 4-digit PIN necessary to file your biweekly claim, and
- the date you will file your first biweekly claim -- generally the second Sunday after completing your initial application for benefits.
You will file a biweekly claim for two weeks at a time, certifying your eligibility for each week separately. For UC purposes, a week is a calendar week that begins Sunday and ends Saturday.
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.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- If you have filed for PEUC, you will receive a PEUC Financial Determination letter in the mail. Once your receive your determination, use your previously provided UC PIN to begin biweekly filing in the same system as regular UC.
- If you were automatically enrolled in PEUC (still within your regular unemployment benefit year), you will also use your same UC PIN and continue your biweekly filing.
- If you no longer have your previous UC PIN, please request a new PIN through our online form.
Extended Benefits (EB)The EB program is available to provide up to 13 additional weeks of payments to people who exhaust their regular UC and federal PEUC.
- EB is not available until you have exhausted your PEUC benefits.
- The EB weekly benefit rate is the same as your UC claim, including depended allowances.
- The total amount of EB that you may receive is 50 percent the amount of regular UC you were able to receive -- you were eligible for 26 weeks of regular UC, you may be eligible for 13 weeks of EB.
- After the balance of your PEUC claim hits $0, your EB claim will set-up automatically.
- You must complete your weekly certification in order to claim EB for weeks you are totally or partially unemployed.
- Each EB online certification corresponds to one specific week, as indicated on the web form.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Refer to the
PUA System Guide, the
PUA Claimant Assistance Guide, or we’ve created two helpful screenshot guides to help you through the process:
- Unlike regular unemployment benefits, you need to file your PUA certifications WEEKLY to get paid.
- An unemployment week is Sunday through Saturday.
- The first day you can file your weekly claim is on Sunday.
- You don’t have to file on Sunday – you can file your weekly claim any day Sunday through Friday.
- After the first payment, you will receive weekly PUA payments typically within three business days after filing your weekly certification.
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.
Expand AllClick here for a more accessible version
Filing Biweekly Claims by TTY
You may file your biweekly claims using TTY.
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, including:
- Credit on purchases,
- Meal allowances,
- 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 – Working Part-time
You may work part-time and possibly receive an unemployment benefit for the week. Payment amount is determined using your "partial benefit credit," (PBC) which is 30% of your weekly benefit rate (WBR). Your WBR and your PBC are added together, and then any earnings you report are subtracted from that total. You are paid the difference, but you cannot be paid more than your weekly benefit rate for any week.
Check out our Partial Benefit Credit Calculator to estimate your payment for the 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.
Learn more information about SUB.
The federal CARES Act was signed into law March 27, 2020. The Act provides enhanced Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for Pennsylvanians. For specific details and information about the programs available to you and which you should apply for, visit our Federal CARES Act page. Note: Filing for the same claim weeks on more than one program is considered fraud.
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.