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File an Initial Claim

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the federal CARES act, there are federal unemployment programs available to assist in the event you have exhausted regular unemployment or typically ineligible. Please review the Notice of CARES Act Programs Available for the Order of Payments on the order of program applications you must follow or visit our Federal CARES page for more information.
 
Before You get Started:

  • 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.

​Unemployment Compensation

The Unemployment Compensation (UC ) program provides temporary income support if you

  • lose your job through no fault of your own, or
  • if you are working less than your full-time hours.

If you qualify, you will receive money for a limited time to help you meet expenses while you seek new employment. To be eligible for UC benefits, you must be a worker who performed services that are covered by the Pennsylvania UC Law.

Before you apply for UC

After you apply for UC


​Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or PEUC program is available for individuals whose regular unemployment benefits have expired or will expire soon.

  • PEUC is a temporary federal program that provides 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits to qualified individuals whose regular unemployment benefits were exhausted on or after July 6, 2019.
  • You must wait for your regular unemployment benefits to expire before applying for PEUC.
  • Individuals who are currently receiving regular unemployment benefits do NOT need to apply.
  • Once the balance of your regular UC benefits is received, you will automatically be enrolled in the PEUC program for the additional 13 weeks of benefits.
  • After filing for PEUC, you'll use the same biweekly filing process that you used for regular UC.

Learn more PEUC information and application instructions.
Find answers to PEUC FAQs.

​Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals not eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits, including those who have exhausted all rights to such benefits.

You should file for PUA if you are ineligible for regular UC because you have lost income due to COVID-19 and

  • are self-employed, or
  • are seeking part-time work, or
  • lack sufficient work history, or
  • have exhausted all rights to regular UC or extended benefits.

PUA benefits are only for individuals who are unemployed and otherwise would be working but are unable to due to COVID-19 pandemic reasons. PUA does not cover

  • Individuals without an attachment to the labor market, or
  • Individuals who are unemployed for non-COVID-19 reasons.

Check out our infographic or watch our video that illustrates who is NOT eligible for PUA.

Review the PUA Claimant Guide or for information on what documents are needed to register and file your initial PUA claim. Collect proof of earnings documents in advance – acceptable documentation of wages include, but is not limited to:

  • 2019 tax returns;
  • your 2019 1099 form(s);
  • paycheck stubs;
  • bank receipts;
  • ledgers;
  • contracts;
  • invoices; and/or
  • billing statements.

PUA Status, Access, and Weekly Certification

  • You do NOT need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) with the PUA system, you will have the username and password that you create.
  • You will NOT receive a confirmation email after submitting your initial PUA claim. You can go into the PUA dashboard to see the claim.
  • You CAN manage everything through your PUA dashboard - check on your claim status, upload documents, see payment information, etc.
  • After you file your initial claim, you'll need to file weekly certifications for PUA.

Need to request backdating for your claim to be effective earlier than when you opened your claim? Learn how to request the backdating of your PUA claim




Want to know what's next?

Visit our What to Expect After Filing Page.



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.