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  • In our previous article we discussed the maximum number of weeks you could receive in regular PA-state funded benefits and the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. In PA that amounts to a maximum 79 weeks This is not the end of the unemployment compensation system in PA. Due to the increase in the unemployment rate in the last two years, the state of Pennsylvania qualifies for the Extended Benefits program, EB.

    The Program

    The EB is a federal and state program, usually supported on a 50/50 basis. It provides long-term unemployed workers with a maximum of 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to aid them find work. If you received 26 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits you will receive the maximum 13 weeks. However if you only qualified for 16 weeks of regular UC, then you can apply for a maximum OF 8 weeks.

    What triggers the EB program?

    The EB program is triggered in a state after the third week its unemployment rate is above a predetermined level, for instance, 8.5 percent. Unemployed workers must have run out of regular state unemployment compensation and EUC, Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

    What triggers-off the EB program?

    Similarly, once a state’s unemployment rate declines below a predetermined level the EB program is cancelled. Once an EB period ends, a new one can’t start until after 14 weeks have gone by.

    What requirements must I meet to qualify for the EB program?

    - You must be partially or completely unemployed.

    - Your total income during the base year of your most recent claim must be at least one and a half times the income you earned in your highest earning quarter. For instance, if you earned $5,000 during your high-earning quarter, you must have earned at least $7,500 during the entire base period.

    - You must have exhausted EUC and regular state-provided benefits.

    - You must be both able and willing to work. This is an area where the EB program has more stringent requirements. An unemployed worker on Extended Benefits must provide evidence of at least two work search activities per week on different days. Proof involves providing information on the company you visited, who you spoke to and a report of the results of the interview.

    - You must not turn down suitable job offered through the PA CareerLink program. A suitable job is described as one you are qualified and fit to do, and one where you at least receive the weekly benefits for the state or federal programs.

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