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  • The Self-Employment Assistance Program in Pennsylvania provides unemployed workers with a high risk of exhausting their unemployment benefits before they find employment with the chance of starting their own business. The program started as a trial in the states of Washington and Massachusetts but has now spread to the states of Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Oregon. Although all of these states have slight differences in their programs they follow the same standard model and can be analyzed as if it were one.

    This article will look into the details of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Self-Employment Assistance Program and how it affects Pennsylvania workers who wish to use unemployment benefits to support their financial needs why they build up their own business.

    How to apply?

    The Pennsylvania Self-Employment Assistance Program is rather unique in that, strictly speaking, you cannot apply for it; you must be invited. The invitation depends on a profiling system which filters workers who are likely to return to the workforce or have the assets, experience or know-how start a business without assistance. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has not published how the profiling system works exactly but it is based on the Massachusetts experimental model that got the Self-Employment Assistance Program started in the late 1990s. This profiling system is designed to make the program as cost-effective as possible by helping those who are most likely to become a financial burden to the state and exhaust their weekly benefits.


    The benefits offered to participants in the Self-Employment Assistance Program in Pennsylvania are the same benefits offered to any unemployed worker. Whatever you are entitled to under the general unemployment insurance program, you will receive in the Self-Employment Assistance Program. Your benefits amount is dependent on your total income before you lost your employment. If you do not qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, you will not qualify for the Self-Employment Assistance Program.


    The Self-Employment Assistance Program in Pennsylvania offers participants courses on business management, technical assistance in the industry they choose and information on the requirements to start a business. While you are enrolled in these courses you will not be required to search for work and you can use time not spent in training to launch your business.

    For those that do not qualify for the Self-Employment Assistance Program there are similar programs that provide training and assistance. However, under those programs you will be expected to search for work and accept any suitable employment offers.

    Not sure what to do when you worked in a different state to Pennsylvania? This may help.

    Generally, unemployed workers who receive unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania both live and work in the State of Pennsylvania. However, in some cases military, federal and other workers live and work in different states. So, where do you apply if you lived or worked in a state different to Pennsylvania. Usually workers should apply for UI benefits from the state where they worked. After all, it was the registered employer from that state that paid unemployment tax to the UI Agency of that State. However, in some occasions states can take over the cost of unemployment insurance through an interstate unemployment claim. If you are resident in Pennsylvania, we recommend you either visit a Career Link Office, visit Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation Agency website or phone 1-888-334-4046.

    Nevertheless, it is likely you will need to contact the Interstate Unit of the state you either live or worked in. The directory below provides a list of the contact details for the interstate unemployment insurance units in the United States. Note there is also a Canada Interstate Unit for workers who live or worked in Canada.



    Multi-State Unit (#01)

    Industrial Relations Bldg.

    Montgomery, AL 31604



    Interstate Unit (#02)

    P.O. Box 3-7000

    Juneau, AK 99801



    Interstate Liable Office (#03)

    Department of Economic Security

    P.O. Box 6666

    Phoenix, AZ



    Interstate Unit (#05)

    P.O. Box 3137

    Little Rock, AR 72203



    Interstate Claims Office (#06)

    P.O. Box 752

    Sacramento, CA 95804



    Interstate Unit (#08)

    1210 Sherman Street


    Denver, CO


    Interstate Section (#09)

    Employment Security Division

    Hartford, CT 06115



    Interstate Unit (#10)

    801 West Street

    Wilmington, DE 19899


    District of Columbia

    Interstate Section (#11)

    Employment Security Bldg.

    6th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW

    Washington, DC



    Bureau of Unemployment Compensation (#12)

    Benefit Section-Caldwell Bldg.

    Tallahassee, FL 32304



    Interstate Payment Unit (#13)

    P.O. Box 38184

    Atlanta, GA 30334



    Unemployment Insurance Division (#15)

    Liable Interstate Unit

    P.O. Box 4278

    Honolulu, HI 96813



    Benefits Bureau

    Interstate Claims Unit (#16)

    P.O. Box 35, 317 Main Street

    Boise, ID 83735



    Interstate Benefit Office (#17)

    Div. Of Unemployment Compensation

    P.O. Box 7397

    Chicago, IL 60680



    Interstate Unit (#18)

    Employment Security Division

    P.O. Box 7022

    Indianapolis, IN 46207



    Interstate Unit (#19)

    Employment Security Commission

    1000 East Grand Avenue

    Des Moines, IA 50319



    Interstate Section (#20)

    Employment Security Division

    (State Labor Department)

    401 Topeka Boulevard

    Topeka, KS 66603



    Interstate Unit (#21)

    Division of Unemployment Insurance

    Department of Economic Security

    P.O. Box 452

    Frankfort, KY 40602



    Interstate Subunit (#22)

    Department of Employment Security

    P.O. Box 44094, Capitol Station

    Baton Rouge, LA 70804



    Interstate Office (#23)

    P.O. Box “P”

    Augusta, ME 04330



    Interstate Claims Division (#24)

    1100 North Eutaw Street

    Baltimore, MD 21201



    Dept. of Employment Security (#25)

    Interstate Unit

    P.O. Box 8400

    Boston, MA 02114



    Interstate Benefit Unit (#26)

    7310 Woodward Avenue

    Detroit, MI 48202



    Interstate Unit (#27)

    390 North Robert Street

    St. Paul, MN 55101



    Interstate Unit (#28)

    P.O. Box 1699

    Jackson, MS 39205



    Interstate Service (#29)

    P.O. Box 59

    Jefferson City, MO 65102



    Interstate Unit (#30)

    P.O. Box 1728 ESD Building

    Helena, MT 59601



    Interstate Unit (#31)

    P.O. Box 4600

    State House Station

    Lincoln, NE



    Interstate Unit (#32)

    500 East 3rd Street

    Carson City, NV 89701


    New Hampshire

    Liable State Unit (#33)

    32 South Main Street

    Concord, NH 03301


    New Jersey

    Assistant Director

    Benefit Payment Services (#34)

    Room 603, Labor Bldg.,

    John Fitch Plaza

    Trenton, NJ 08625


    New Mexico

    Interstate Unit (#35)

    P.O. Box 1928

    Albuquerque, NM 87103


    New York

    Out-of-State Resident Office (#36)

    P.O. Box 1559

    Albany, NY 12249


    North Carolina

    Interstate Claims Unit (#37)

    P.O. Box 27967

    Raleigh, NC 27611


    North Dakota

    Interstate Unit (#38)

    P.O. Box 1537

    Bismark, ND 58505



    Interstate Claims Unit (#39)

    P.O. Box 1618

    Columbus, OH 43216



    Interstate Unit (#40)

    Employment Security Commission

    Will Rogers Memorial Office Bldg.

    Oklahoma City, OK 73105



    Interstate Unit-Emp. Div. (#41)

    875 Union Street, NE

    Salem, OR 97311



    Interstate Claims Office (#42)

    Bureau of Employment Security

    P.O. Box 3561

    Harrisburg, PA 17121


    Rhode Island

    Interstate Unit (#44)

    P.O. Box 1058

    Providence, RI 02903


    South Carolina

    Interstate Claims Section (#45)

    P.O. Box 1477

    Columbia, SC 29202


    South Dakota

    Interstate Unit (#46)

    607 North Fourth Street

    Aberdeen, SD 57401



    Interstate Unit (#47)

    Hull State Office Bldg.

    Nashville, TN 37219



    Interstate Unit (#48)

    TEC Building

    Austin, TX 78778



    Interstate Unit (#49)

    P.O. Box 11600

    Salt Lake City, UT 84147



    Interstate Unit (#50)

    P.O. Box 488

    Montpelier, VT 05602



    Interstate Unit (#51)

    P.O. Box 1360

    Richmond, VA 23211



    Interstate Unit (#53)

    P.O. Box 2561

    Olympia, WA 98504


    West Virginia

    Multistate Unit (#54)

    California and Washington Streets

    Charleston, WV 25305



    Interstate Unit (#56)

    P.O. Box 2479

    Casper, WY 82602


    Puerto Rico

    Interstate Claims Unit (#72)

    Bureau of Employment Security

    505 Munoz Rivera Avenue

    Hato Rey, PR 00918


    Virgin Islands


    Virgin Islands Employment Security Agency (#78)

    Charlotte Amalie

    St. Thomas, VA 00802



    Interstate Claims Unit (#99)

    Box 4500

    Belleville, Ontario, Canada

    Find out what extra requirements Federal and Military unemployed workers must meet.

    The process for applying for unemployment insurance is pretty straightforward for workers who live and work in Pennsylvania. But what about workers who worked outside the state, lived outside the state but worked in Pennsylvania or who were employed by the Federal government or the military? The application process and eligibility requirements do change slightly in these circumstances so if fall within those parameters, you will be interested in this series of articles. This article will look at the application and approval process for Federal and Military employees in Pennsylvania, while our next article will focus on the procedure for interstate workers who live in a different state from where they worked.

    The first step if you are an unemployed federal or military worker is to find out if you qualify for unemployment insurance in Pennsylvania. There are three main requirements you must meet. First, your last post or duty station was in Pennsylvania, second you are a Pennsylvania resident but your last post was outside of the United States, or third, your last employment after separating from your federal employer was in Pennsylvania.

    What do you need to apply for UI?

    Because the paperwork provided at termination by the federal government and military differs from that of regular employers in Pennsylvania, there are certain requirements you must satisfy that other employees do not. For instance, federal workers must wait longer to receive wage information than regular state workers, so you will need to mail your documentation to the UC Service Center of Pennsylvania. The documents you are required to provide include: your federal Standard Form 8, Notice to Federal Employee About Unemployment Compensation, Standard Form 50, Notification of Personnel Action and other documents that support your claim that you worked for a federal employer, such as your W-2 stubs, Withholding Tax Statement and pay stubs. Make sure you do not provide the original documents by post as these may get lost and you will have no further evidence of your employment. Copies will work just fine.

    Act Quickly

    Federal unemployed workers must, just as regular unemployed workers, file their claim as soon as possible. This means sending all supportive information to the UC Service Center as soon as possible. Notice you can only claim for unemployment weeks from the date you file your application. Previous weeks where you were unemployed and did not apply for benefits cannot be claimed for retroactively and they can affect your eligibility due to the way the Pennsylvania UI Agency calculates your base period: the income earning period that decides your unemployment insurance compensation.

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