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  • This is a question we get asked often from our readers, and for good reason. The unemployment insurance system is far from straightforward. In fact, it is not one system but at least three systems (but sometimes only two) which vary depending on the state you live in. This article will not only focus on answering “How many weeks of unemployment can I get in PA in 2011?” but also tackle how many weeks you can get from each unemployment program.

    Regular State-Funded Unemployment Compensation

    The Pennsylvania regular unemployment compensation, UC, program provides unemployed workers with a maximum of 26 weeks. This is the most you will receive within any one year from filing your initial unemployment claim. So, if you file for unemployment the 1st of June and you have already used your 26 weeks you will not have any more unemployment weeks for 2011. This year period is not calendar year of January to December. It starts whenever you claim for unemployment. To qualify again for PA state-funded unemployment after you have used up your maximum number of UC weeks, you would need to start working for a registered employer, meet the financial and legal requirements of the PA Unemployment Office and reapply.

    Fortunately for long term unemployed workers, the PA state-funded UC program is not the only unemployment compensation program available.

    EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation)

    This program was extended in December 2010 and will continue up to December 24, 2011. The program has different formats depending on the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate. States with an unemployment rate higher than 6 and 8.5 percent qualify for tiers 3 and tiers 3 and 4 respectively. As long as Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate remains above 8.5 percent it will qualify for the maximum 53 weeks of benefit. However, this does not mean you will receive the total 53 weeks. How many weeks you get in PA in 2011 from the EUC also depends on the number of weeks you qualified for under the state-funded regular UC program.

    Unemployed workers who qualified for the 26 weeks of UC can receive the maximum 53 weeks. However, unemployed workers who only received 16 weeks of regular UC, will receive a maximum of 12.8 weeks in tier 1, 8,6 weeks in tier 2, 8 weeks in tier 3 and 3.8 weeks in tier 4, which amounts to a maximum of 34 weeks.

    How many weeks of unemployment you get in PA for 2011 will depend on your income and UC contributions during the year before you file your claim. The maximum unemployment weeks between regular UC and EUC is 79 weeks, plus the EB, Extended Benefits, program which we will discuss in our next article.

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