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How to File

Filing An Initial Claim

*Beware of fraudulent unemployment websites. Always ensure you are on our site when filing for benefits, changing your personal info, or signing up for direct deposit. We will never ask you to pay for UC services, or ask you for your credit information.

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.
  • Self-service Step-by-step Instructions
    • These step-by-step guides and instructions will guide you through many UC online services, including how to file an initial claim, how to file a biweekly claim, 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

You should file your UC application for benefits using one of the following methods:

  • Online: An online application can be filed using our secure website 7 days a week, 24 hours
  • Telephone: An application can be filed on the statewide unemployment compensation toll-free number at 1-888-313-7284.
  • Mail: A paper application can be mailed to a UC service center.
  • Videophone service: For individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL) videophone service is available every Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. at 717-704-8474.
      • *Sign language is the ONLY means of communication provided through the Videophone.

Reopen an Existing Claim

If you fall into one of the categories listed below, you should file an application to reopen an existing application for benefits.

  1. You established an application for benefits within the past year, and then gained employment and stopped filing for UC benefits. If you become unemployed again, you should reopen your application for benefits during the first week that you are unemployed again.
  2. You established an application for benefits, but you stopped filing claims because you were ill, hospitalized, or otherwise unable to work. You should reopen your claim as soon as you are able and available for work again.

"Reopen" applications can be filed using the same methods listed above for filing an initial application for UC benefits. 

File a Biweekly Claim

After you have filed your initial application for UC benefits or reopened an existing application, you must file a claim for each week in which you are totally or partially unemployed. 

A week for UC purposes begins on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday. The compensable week ending (CWE) date, is always a Saturday. 

In most cases, you will file claims for two weeks at one time. This is called a "biweekly claim". Although you will file for two weeks at a time, you will certify your eligibility for each week separately. (For example, you may be on vacation and not available one week, but available the next week.)

Biweekly filing can be done using the following methods:

  • Online: 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.
  • Telephone: use the automated PA Teleclaims (PAT) system by calling 888-255-4728, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • TTY services: Click here for more information on TTY services.

If you are eligible for benefits, you should receive your first benefit payment within four weeks after the effective date of your application, provided you file your biweekly claims on time.