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File An Initial Claim

When to file

  • If you have worked your full, regular hours for your work week, then file on Sunday.
  • If your separation from your employer caused a change to your normal working hours for the week, then file right away.

What you need before you get started

Personal Information:

  • SSN
  • Home address and mailing address (if different)
  • Telephone number
  • Valid email
  • PIN - Personal Identification Number (optional)- If you have previously filed a UC claim using your previous PIN can prevent you from having to re-enter information
  • Direct deposit bank information (optional) - bank name, address, account and routing number.

In some cases additional information is needed. For a complete list, view our requirements checklist.

Information about Separating Employer:

  • Employer's name, address and phone number
  • Employer’s PA UC account number (if known)
  • First and last day worked with employer
  • Reason for leaving
  • Pension or severance package information (if applicable)

Tools to help you file

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
    • A resource to help answer any questions you may have about filing or receiving unemployment compensation benefits, including eligibility, how your weekly benefit is calculated and more.
  • Online Assistant- Filing an Initial Claim
    • This step-by-step guide will walk you through filing your initial UC claim online, helping you ensure it is processed quickly and correctly.
    • Not sure how to use the guide? Take a quick tour via PDF or video.

Different ways to file

  • Online: Complete an online application using our secure website 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
  • Paper Form: A paper application can be downloaded and mailed to the address indicated on the form.
  • Videophone: Services for individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL) can be reached at 717-704-8474 every Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m.
  • Phone: Call the statewide toll-free number at 1-888-313-7284.
    • UC Service Centers - Hours of Operation
      Monday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
      Tuesday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
      Wednesday 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
      Thursday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
      Friday 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • TTY: Services for the deaf and hard of hearing can be reached at 1-888-334-4046.

What to expect after you file

Within several business days you can expect to receive:

  • Claim Confirmation Letter – This letter is a confirmation that your claim was received. It will contain your PIN which is required for your bi-weekly filings. The letter will also include other important information such as, the date you will need to file your first bi-weekly claim and any other actions you must take in order to remain eligible for benefits.
  • Notice of Financial Determination– This letter will advise you if you are financially eligible for benefits and what your anticipated weekly benefit amount would be. This document does not indicate approval or denial of benefits. Your benefit eligibility will be determined after a review of your employment history is completed.

You can usually expect to receive your first benefit payment within four weeks of filing your application for benefits. Payments are issued via a debit card provided by the UC office or direct deposit. Remember, because of the Waiting Week, your first payment may be for only one week.

It is important that you continue to file your bi-weekly claim as directed in your ‘Claim Confirmation Letter’, even as you wait for your benefit eligibility to be determined.

After receiving your PIN you can go online to check the status of your claim and see when to expect your payment. Visit our self-service guide for more information.

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