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  • Filing for unemployment benefits with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry is just the beginning. It is the easy part. Once you have arranged your source of income while you are unemployed, it is time to start your new full-time job: to find a job.

    However, before you start walking the streets looking for work there are a few pointers you must understand about Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation program. Once you filed your claim over the phone or online and it has been accepted  you must begin to file your weekly benefit claims. You can file these weekly claims either online or over the phone.

    It is important you know how and where to file these claims or your application could be denied. It is also vital to know what information you will be asked when you file your online of phone claim. Any mistakes or omissions in your claim could end up in your claim being denied or frozen.

    The Good News

    The long lines to the unemployment office are a thing of the past. Now you can file your weekly benefits from wherever you, your laptop or phone may be. This means you can file your claims from the comfort of your home or wherever you get coverage or an internet connection.

    Online

    You can file your weekly benefits online at www.uc.pa.gov  Just click on the link and follow the instructions.

    Phone

    Unlike other states, Pennsylvania has created a special Teleclaims number for each area. This phone system is called Pennsylvania Teleclaims, PAT for short. Please find below the phone number for Unemployment Service Centers and PAT numbers by region.

    What Will I Need?

    Regardless of which method you choose to file your weekly benefits you will need to provide the following information: Driving license number, SSN, name and contact details of your employers in the last 18 months, your contact details, the dates you started and finished employment and your reason you stopped working. You will also need your most recent pay stub and the PIN number the PA department of Labor gave you.

    UC SERVICE CENTERS
    Allentown:
    Local: 610.821.6735
    Local TTY (Hearing Impaired):
    610.821.6771
    Local PAT: 610.821.6659
    Fax: 610.821.6281
     
        Indiana:
    Local: 724.599.1250
    Local PAT: 724.599.1004
    Fax: 724.599.1068
    Altoona:
    Local: 814.946.7224
    Local PAT: 814.941.6849
    Fax: 814.941.6801
     
        Lancaster:
    Local: 717.299.7711
    Local PAT: 717.299.7560
    Fax: 717.299.7557
    Duquesne:
    Local: 412.267.1315
    Local PAT: 412.267.1494
    Fax: 412.267.1475
     
        Philadelphia:
    Local: 215.856.6990
    Local PAT: 215.560.1978
    Fax: 215.560.6981
    Erie:
    Local: 814.871.4311
    Local PAT: 814.878.5700
    Fax: 814.871.4863     Scranton:
    Local: 570.496.2332
    Local TTY (Hearing Impaired): 570.562.4871
    Local PAT: 570.562.4800
    Local PAT TTY (Hearing Impaired): 570.562.4870
    Fax: 570.562.4872
     
    TOLL FREE STATEWIDE: 888.313.7284
    TOLL FREE TTY (Hearing Impaired): 888.334.4046

    It is easy to make a mistake with your Unemployment Compensation and get overpaid in benefits. The Pennsylvania Labor and Industry will sometimes err on your side and miscalculate your weekly benefit amount. What should do? How can you get overpaid in unemployment benefits? How can you pay back an overpayment? This guide will answer these and other questions you may have if you have to deal with a UC overpayment.

    Types of Overpayments

    Non-fault overpayments. As their name indicate, these overpayments occur when you get paid benefits you are not entitled to, but without any fault of your own. Generally, this is due to a clerical or computer programming error. When this type of overpayment is spotted by the UIA’s system it gets automatically deducted from your benefits. You will be informed before a deduction takes place and the weekly deduction will never be more than one-third of your weekly benefit amount to avoid excessive hardship on your family budget. However, if the overpayment is less than $100, the deduction will be taken in full regardless of your weekly benefit amount.

    If you spot a non-fault overpayment, report it and repay it, to avoid delays and further reductions.

    Fault overpayments. As I’m sure you guessed, fault overpayments occur when you try to cheat the system and are caught or you make a mistake in your benefits claim. This can occur if you claim to have more dependents than you actually have, or do not declare earnings from a part-time job while you receive benefits. The PA unemployment agency will require you to pay back fault overpayments with interest. You can repay overpayments voluntarily or they will be deducted from future unemployment benefits or wages, if you are currently employed.

    How can I pay back and overpayment?

    To repay an overpayment, whether a fault or non-fault overpayment, you can send a check or money order to the Pennsylvania UC Fund. Address the payment to the Office of UC Benefits, Claimant Services, PO Box 67503, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7503. Print your full name, SSN and daytime telephone number on check or money order. Never send cash.

    Bounced checks. If you pay an overpayment with a check and it bounces, you will have to pay a dishonored check penalty. The penalty for a dishonored check of $10 or less is $10. The penalty for a check lower than $100 but larger than $10 is the value of the check, while checks larger than a $100 incur in a penalty of $100.

    Understanding exactly how much income you will receive will help you prepare a realistic budget you can live with. If you don’t understand the deductions the Pennsylvania Labor and Industry applies on insured unemployed workers, you may be in for a surprise. This article will detail the deductions the Unemployment Insurance agency can apply to your weekly benefit amount.

    Blanket reduction in benefits due to a low balance in the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Trust. This Trust funds the state part of the UC program. For more information on this reduction read this article (click here).

    Part-Time Income. If your part-time income while receiving unemployment benefits is larger than your partial benefit credit (40 percent of your weekly benefit amount), your weekly benefit amount will be deducted. Click here for a full description of how this deduction is calculated.

    Pensions. You will have to deduct some or all of the income you receive from a pension from your unemployment compensation if the pension was setup or contributed to by one of your base-period employers. If only your employer contributed to the pension fund, all of the pension must be deducted from your benefits. If you contributed towards the pension fund, however modestly, only 50 percent is deductible.

    There are some exceptions to these rules. For instance, if you did not have the option of receiving periodic payments and received a lump-sum payment then the pension is not deductible. Also if you invest a lump-sum pension payment into an IRA or some other pension fund, it will not be deducted. Finally, if you are receiving Social Security or Railroad retirement funds, you don’t have to worry about deductions.

    Back Wage Awards. If you received some kind of back wage award while you received unemployment compensation your eligibility for UC may be jeopardized.

    Support Orders. If you have financial obligations, such as child support or some other type of court-ruled payment, it will be deducted from your unemployment compensation. For a full discussion of how support orders are deducted from your weekly benefit rate click here.

    Notice that any deduction to your weekly benefit amount will be informed to you before it is made. You can appeal against any deduction you feel is unfair or inaccurate. However, remember you must file an appeal to the UC Board of Review within 15 days of receiving notice of a deduction to your benefits. You have 30 days to appeal against a decision from a UC Board of Review decision.

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