Those who have suffered from loss of employment as a result of the Coronavirus may be eligible to collect unemployment compensation benefits in Pennsylvania. Whether you have recently applied for benefits or think you may eventually need to, the process can feel confusing and overwhelming – especially if you’re new to unemployment compensation. The following is a breakdown of the basics and information on how the department has adapted to the global pandemic.
If you have applied for benefits and are approved, you should begin receiving payments within four weeks of the date that you originally applied. It is important, throughout the entire process, that you fill out bi-weekly claims online. This must be done even while you are waiting for approval of your benefits. All of the necessary information regarding the biweekly claim process will be provided to you at the time that you initially apply for benefits.
A recent change made as a result of the Coronavirus response relates to what is known as the waiting period for benefit recipients. Generally, those who applied for and were found eligible for unemployment benefits did not receive payment for their first week of unemployment. This is sometimes called the waiting week. However, the waiting week period has been suspended for those currently seeking benefits. As a result, eligible individuals can collect benefits for the weeks beginning immediately after their loss of employment. In addition, all work search and registration requirements that are generally imposed on the recipients of unemployment compensation are temporarily waived. This means that those receiving benefits are not required to show evidence of their application and searching for a new job. For the time being, recipients are also not required to register through Pennsylvania Career Link.
Despite all of the changes, recipients are still only able to collect benefits for twenty-six weeks.
The Pennsylvania Office for Unemployment Compensation recently released an update for individuals who opened a claim between March 15 and March 21. Specifically, the office notes that pin numbers are being issued so that applicants can begin filing for benefits on March 29, 2020. If you do not receive a pin number may April 3, 2020, contact the department. Those who filed claims between March 22 and March 29 will be able to begin filing claims by April 5, 2020, according to the department.
For more information about changes to unemployment compensation related to the pandemic, visit https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/covid19.aspx.