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  • Learn how you can successfuly apply for unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania.

    This guide will help you understand the steps you must take to file for unemployment in Pennsylvania. Although it is not rocket science, filing an unemployment can be confusing and frustrating if you do not know how the system works. This series of articles will detail how the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry processes unemployment applications and what you need to do to get your unemployment compensation checks as soon as possible.

    1. Apply straight away.

    Expect your benefits application to take up to three weeks to process from the date you file your first claim. The longer you take to file your claim the longer you will have to wait for your first check to arrive. You cannot back-date your application or claim for previous weeks,

    The Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry applies a waiting week on all unemployed workers. This term is unfortunate because it can give the impression you have to wait a week before applying. This is not the case. The waiting week is the first week of your benefit year you are eligible for benefits. You will not receive any compensation for this week, but you will need to file for it to begin receiving payments.

    2. Check if you meet the minimum requirements for Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation Program.

    Eligibility requirements include:

    a) You must have lost your job through no fault of your own. If you are fired for stealing, not fulfilling your job description or some other misdemeanor, you may not qualify for unemployment benefits. However, you should still try to apply for unemployment benefits if you can explain why your employer sacked you, even if it is ultimately your fault because the Labor and Industry Department’s guidelines my differ from that of your employer. For example, your boss can sack you for repeatedly getting to work late if you are given adequate warning. However, if the reason for arriving late was justified, such as a sick child or lack of transport, you may still be eligible for benefits.

    b) You must be willing and able to work full-time. If you are sick or permanently disabled, you do not qualify for unemployment. You may qualify for Social Security programs though.

    c) You must meet the Pennsylvania State minimum income requirements in your base year. This includes having a minimum of 16 weeks where you earned $50 or more and a minimum income during your base year period of $1,320 dollars. However, these minimums can change so you should always check with the Labor and Industry Department for current financial eligibility requirements.

    For a full review of Pennsylvania’s requirements for unemployment benefits read our next article in our PA Unemployment Guide To Filing An Unemployment Compensation Claim series.

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