Unemployment Compensation: The Process

If you have lost your job due to no fault of your own or are working reduced hours through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation benefits. It is crucial that you apply for benefits as soon as possible following departure from your employment. Filing can be accomplished online through the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, Office of Unemployment Compensation Benefits at www.uc.pa.gov, which is the most efficient manner of filing.

To receive unemployment compensation benefits, you must:

  1. File an application for benefits
  2. After you file for benefits, the Service Center will contact both you and your previous employer to determine whether you qualify financially for benefits. An employee is deemed to be financially eligible if he or she has enough wages and weeks of work in their employment history. The Service Center will consider other factors as well to make a determination as to whether or not you are eligible for benefits.
  3. If the department determines that you are not financially eligible for benefits, you may appeal or file a new application for benefits on or after the first Sunday of the next calendar quarter.
  4. If the department determines that your separation from your employer qualifies you for benefits, you will begin receiving unemployment compensation benefits. This is termed a UC Service Center Determination, and is accomplished without a hearing.

Once you begin to receive your benefits, you must take steps to maintain your benefits. In order to maintain your benefits, you must:

  1. File timely, biweekly claims for benefits while serving an unpaid waiting week;
  2. Register and actively search for employment, which includes recording your work-search efforts;
  3. Make yourself ready, willing, able and available for employment;
  4. Report any and all wages and any other income; and
  5. Report your return to work, self-employment efforts, inability to work, unavailability to work, and separation from any subsequent employment.

Unemployment benefits claim fraud is a serious offense; therefore, it is essential that you are truthful and accurate throughout the entire claims process.

If the department determines that your separation from your employer disqualifies you for unemployment compensation benefits, you may appeal this determination to an Unemployment Compensation Referee. If the UC Service Center Determination awards you unemployment compensation benefits, the employer also has the right to appeal the determination to an Unemployment Compensation Referee. During the appeal process, a hearing will be scheduled in which you can be represented by an attorney. At the hearing, testimony will be taken, exhibits and evidence can be entered onto the record, and witnesses can be subpoenaed or otherwise present to testify on behalf of the employer and/or employer. The hearing is recorded and is the only opportunity you have to present evidence and have testimony taken to prove that you are eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. Following the conclusion of the hearing, the Referee will review all of the evidence of record, and issue a decision. This decision will be mailed to the employee and employer.

If either the employee or the employer disagree with the Referee's decision, either side may appeal the decision of the Referee to the UC Board of Review. If either side is not satisfied with the decision reached by the UC Board of Review, either side may appeal the UC Board of Review decision to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. There are strict deadlines that must be adhered to in appealing at every level of the appellate process.

For more information and to schedule your free, thirty (30) minute consultation to discuss your rights, including your eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits and appeals, contact Tanner Law Offices, LLC at (717) 836-0471.