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Maintaining Your Eligibility for Benefits

Your Biweekly Claim Requirement

You must file a claim for each week in which you are totally or partially unemployed. A "week" is a calendar week beginning on Sunday and ending the following Saturday. The date of the Saturday is called the claim week ending date, or CWE Date.

How To File Your Biweekly Claim

To file your biweekly claim, you will need:

  • The gross amount of your earnings (total amount of money earned before taxes or other deductions) for all work performed during the week.
  • If you were absent from work when work was available during the week, the gross amount you would have earned if you had not been absent.
  • The gross amount of holiday pay and vacation pay, if any, for the week.
  • A record of work search activities completed for the week.

Filing over the Internet: You may file your biweekly claims online www.benefits.uc.pa.gov.

Filing by Phone: You may file by phone by using the PA Teleclaims (PAT) system. Call 888-255-4728, Sunday through Saturday. Please be advised that filing online is the fastest and easiest way to file. Using PAT may cause your payments to be delayed.

Filing by Mail: This is permitted only in specific circumstances. Please contact 888-313-7284 [TTY Users 888-334-4046] for information on filing claims by mail.

When To File Your Biweekly Claim
Your weekly claim must be filed during the week (Sunday through Friday) immediately following the two weeks you are claiming. Your Claim Confirmation Letter will tell you when to file your first biweekly claim. If you remain totally or partially unemployed, you will continue to file weekly claims every week until you exhaust your benefits.

If You Forget To File
If you fail to file your weekly claim at the proper time, you may be denied benefits for those weeks and your UC claim will become "inactive." If your claim is inactive you will be prompted to reopen your claim. If you return to work but then become unemployed again, visit www.benefits.uc.pa.gov or call the UC service center to reopen your claim.

REMEMBER! If you are waiting for the department to determine whether you are eligible for benefits, continue to file your weekly claims. If you are determined to be eligible, you will only get benefits for the weeks for which you filed claims.

The Waiting Week
The first week of the Benefit Year that you are unemployed and found eligible for benefits is called the Waiting Week.

Benefits are not payable for the Waiting Week but you must file a claim for that week in order to receive credit for it.

Your Work Registration Requirement

You must register for employment-search within 30 days after filing an application for benefits.

  • If your local labor market is outside of Pennsylvania, you must register with the state employment service that serves your local labor market.

  • If your local labor market is within Pennsylvania (either you live in PA, or commute to PA for work) you must register for employment-search services through PA CareerLink®.

NEW REGISTRATION-To register for employment-search services, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Pennsylvania CareerLink® website at www.pacareerlink.pa.gov and click on "Register."
  2. Click on "Unemployment Compensation (UC) Claimant" as the user type.
  3. Enter your name, date of birth, and your complete Social Security number.
  4. Click on "Continue."
  5. Provide your personal information and click "Save and Continue."

    NOTE: It is crucial that both your name and mailing address are the same in both the UC and PA CareerLink® systems.

  6. Provide the information requested to create a Keystone ID (user name) and password as well as your Hint Questions/Answers. Click "Save and Continue."
  7. Provide the information applicable to you to complete your "Profile" and "Job Preferences."
  8. Once you have completed the registration process, you will receive a "Registration Confirmation" page. Be sure to print this page or write down your Keystone ID and Participant Identification Number for your records. Do not send the confirmation to the UC service center or PA CareerLink® office.

PREVIOUS/PARTIAL REGISTRATION - If you previously created a Keystone ID or partially registered with PA CareerLink®, follow the steps below to fully register and avoid ineligibility:

  • If you never created a Keystone ID/Password, go to www.pacareerlink.pa.gov and click on "Register." Follow the instructions above for NEW REGISTRATION as if registering for the first time.

  • If you have forgotten your Keystone ID or Password, go to www.pacareerlink.pa.gov and click on "Forgot your Keystone ID / Password?" On the next screen, select "Job Seeker" and choose one of the options provided to retrieve your Keystone ID, reset your password or reset your hint questions and answers. You may be asked to provide the Participant Identification Number assigned to you by the PA CareerLink® system. If you do not know your Participant Identification Number, you have the option of having it emailed to the email address in your PA CareerLink® profile, obtaining it by contacting your local PA CareerLink® office, or having it mailed to you.

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE COMPLETELY REGISTERED?

Look in the upper right corner of the Dashboard for the "UC Registration Compliance" box.

  • If the box indicates that your status is "Completed", then you are fully registered. Click the "View UC Confirmation" link and print the confirmation page for your records.

  • If the box indicates that your status is "Incomplete," click on the "Completion of My Profile" link and add an Experience record to your My Resume page.

IMPORTANT: When attempting to register, if you receive a message saying that you may already have an account in the system, do NOT assume that you are fully registered for UC purposes.

Contact your local PA CareerLink® office to determine if you have an existing account and, if so, whether or not you have completed the elements to satisfy the UC registration requirement.

If you experience difficulty registering for employment-search services, please contact your local PA CareerLink® office, go to www.pacareerlink.pa.gov, click on "Offices" and enter your Zip Code in the "Search" field.

Your Weekly Work Search Requirements

You must actively search for work to be eligible for benefits. You will be required to report your applications and activities each week you file for benefits, unless you have an exemption.

Q. What are the weekly work search requirements?
A. Generally, beginning with the third week in your Benefit Year for which you file a UC claim, you must apply for two jobs and participate in one work search activity each week. You will be required to report your activities each week you file a claim for UC benefits.

Q. What kind of jobs can I apply for?
A. You may apply for jobs that would provide suitable work; that is, any work that you are capable of performing. However, you are allowed to limit your job applications to jobs that offer employment and wages similar to what you had before you became unemployed, and are within a 45-minute commute. If adhering to that limitation prevents you from applying for two jobs, you may choose one of two options for each application that you are unable to make: (1) you may participate in a work search activity, or (2) you may disregard that limitation and apply for a job offering suitable work.

Q. What are the acceptable ways to apply for a job?
A. You may apply for a job in person, by mail, phone or electronic transmission, by submitting a job application or résumé to the employer, or by following a hiring procedure established by the employer. A repeated application for the same job does not count unless there is a reasonable basis to believe that the employer's hiring circumstances have changed.

Q. What qualifies as a work search activity?
A. You may choose from these seven work search activities:

  • Attend a job fair.
  • Search positions posted on the PA CareerLink® system or Internet job banks.
  • Create or post a résumé in the PA CareerLink® system or post a résumé in other résumé-posting services.
  • Contact colleagues, former co-workers or other individuals in similar professions or occupations to make known your availability for employment or obtain information about available positions, prospective employers or other employment opportunities.
  • Utilize an employment agency, employment registry or school placement service.
  • Take a civil service test or other pre-employment test.
  • Participate in a program or activity offered through the Pennsylvania CareerLink® system.
If you live outside of Pennsylvania, you may participate in these types of activities offered by your state employment service.

 

Q. Do I receive credit for a job interview?
A. Yes, you may substitute a job interview by an employer for one of your job applications or a work search activity.

Q. Do I receive credit for an extra job application?
A. Yes, if you apply for more than two jobs in a week, you do not have to participate in a work search activity during that week.

Q. Are the weekly requirements different if I am working part time?
A. If you are working part time during a week and you earn more than your Partial Benefit Credit (PBC), you only must apply for one job during the week, instead of two, and you do not have to participate in a work search activity during that week. (See your Notice of Financial Determination and accompanying insert entitled "Explanation of Your Notice of Financial Determination" for information about your PBC.)

Q. Must I keep a record of my job applications and work search activities?
A. Yes. You are encouraged to use Form UC-304, entitled "Work Search Record." A copy of the form is also included in this booklet, and the form is available at www.uc.pa.gov. You are not required to use Form UC-304 if your record includes the same information that would be contained on Form UC-304. You must retain your record for a period of two years from your Application for Benefits (AB) date. (See your Notice of Financial Determination and accompanying insert entitled "Explanation of Your Notice of Financial Determination" for information about your AB Date.) The department monitors the work search activities of UC claimants. Failure to provide your work search record upon request, in the manner specified by the department, may result in ineligibility for benefits and liability to repay benefits you received. Do not send your work search record to the department unless you are asked to do so.

Q. How do I know if I have met the work search requirements for a week?
A. You may use this chart to verify that you have satisfied the UC work search requirements. Each column in the chart represents one of the three weekly requirements. In each column, check the box that indicates how you satisfied that requirement or a substitute requirement. You may enter only one checkmark for each job application, work search activity or interview. If you are able to check one box in each column, you have satisfied your UC work search requirements for the week.

1st Job Application 2nd Job Application Work Search Activity
  • I applied for a job.
  • I participated in a work search activity because I am limiting my job applications.
  • I had a job interview.
  • I applied for a job.
  • I participated in a work search activity because I am limiting my job applications.
  • I had a job interview.
  • I participated in a work search activity.
  • I applied for a 3rd job.
  • I had a job interview.
 
  • I worked part time during the week and earned more than my PBC. A second job application and a work search activity are not required.

When the Work Registration and Work Search Requirements Don't Apply

Exemptions
The weekly work search requirements, or both the registration requirement and the weekly work search requirements, will not apply to a week if you satisfy one of the following exceptions for the week:

Exemption Registration
Requirement Does Not Apply
Weekly Work Search
Requirement Does Not Apply
You actively participate during the week in a program or activity approved by the department as an acceptable work search alternative.  

X

During the week you (1) are a member of a union that has a hiring hall or are registered with a hiring hall, (2) are required to obtain employment through the hiring hall, and (3) fulfill all requirements to maintain eligibility for referral by the hiring hall during the week.  

X

During the week you are participating in the Shared-Work Program.

X

X

During the week you are in training approved by the department or under the Trade Act.

X

X

During the week you are required to participate in the Pennsylvania Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) at a PA CareerLink® under Section 402(j) of the Law.

X

X

You are laid off and the employer has provided you a recall date in writing.

X

The exemption continues until the recall date is rescinded or has passed.

You must keep a copy of the recall notice. You must notify the UC service center of your return-to-work date.

X

The exemption continues until the recall date is rescinded or has passed.

You must keep a copy of the recall notice. You must notify the UC service center of your return-to-work date.

Waiver
The department may waive or alter the work registration and weekly work search requirements in cases or situations where compliance would be oppressive or inconsistent with the purposes of the Law. A waiver request form is available here. IMPORTANT: If you request a waiver or alteration of your work registration or work search requirements for reasons that render you unable to work or unavailable for work, you may be ineligible for benefits.

Your Able and Available Requirement

To be eligible for UC benefits, you must be able to work and available to return to work, either to your old job or a new job..

You May Be Disqualified If:

  • You are physically incapable of working.
  • You are not available for work because:
    • You are outside your labor market on vacation.
    • You are out of the country. If you are planning to travel outside of the United States, please contact your UC service center prior to leaving.
    • You are incarcerated.
    • You do not have a way to get to a job.
    • You do not have daycare for children.

If you are disqualified from receiving benefits because you are not able and available for work but you become able and available at a later date, contact your local UC service center to see if you can resume UC benefits.

Let's Review! To be eligible for benefits you must:

  • Meet minimum wage and employment requirements (financial eligibility).
  • Be totally or partially unemployed through no fault of your own (a qualifying separation).
  • File timely weekly claims while you are unemployed and serve an unpaid waiting week.
  • Register for employment-search services within 30 days of your application for benefits, actively search for work and keep a record of your work search efforts.
  • Be able to work and available for suitable work.




Qualifying for Benefits

UC Handbook home page

Payment of Benefits