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Filing Instructions

Filing An Initial Application for Unemployment Compensation Benefits

*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.

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.

For information on what you need to file, view and/or print a copy of this checklist.

Filing An Application to "Reopen" an Existing Application for UC Benefits

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. 

Filing Biweekly Claims

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.

More information on how to report your earnings when filing a biweekly claim is available here.