Pennsylvania Unemployment Guide

If you've recently lost your job in Pennsylvania, you may be eligible for Pennsylvania Unemployment Insurance benefits. This is a guide to filing your claim for Pennsylvania unemployment benefits. Since each situation may have its own unique circumstances, make sure you check with the contact numbers and websites listed below to make sure you get the maximum benefits you can claim.

Filing for Unemployment:

Unemployed Pennsylvania workers can file an initial claim for unemployment benefits one of two ways:

  1. Online – File your initial unemployment claim online
  2. Telephone – File your unemployment claim through Pennsylvania Teleclaims (PAT) local number (Sunday, 6:00am to 11:00pm, and M - F, 6:00am to 9:00pm)

File your claim right away after you've stopped working – don't delay. Your claim starts the week you file. Unemployment benefits are not retroactive, so if you delay you may lose benefits.

  • Name, address & phone
  • SSN & date of birth
  • Drivers license or State issued ID
  • Name, address, phone number, gross earnings, occupation, dates worked, and reason for separation for all employers for the past 18 months
  • If you were discharged from the military in the last 18 months, you'll need Copy #4 of your DD Form 214
  • If you were a Federal employee in the last 18 months, you'll need SF 8 or SF 50 (or W2 or pay stubs)
  • If you are not a US Citizen, you'll need your Alien Registration Number, expiration, and type
  • Your Employer Information Form (if you have one)
  • Dependent children names, ages and SSN

After filing your initial unemployment claim, you will receive a Notice of Financial Determination, describing benefits, eligibility and giving additional information.

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Filing Your Bi-Weekly Claim:

Pennsylvania weekly unemployment benefits are based on approximately 50% of your the average weekly earnings, with a minimum of $35/week to a maximum $564 per week. You may also claim a dependent allowance of $5 for one dependent child, $8 for two or more. Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) currently adds an additional $25 per week to your benefit.

Unemployed Pennsylvania workers can file bi-weekly unemployment claims one of three ways:

  1. Online – File your bi-weekly unemployment claim online (Sunday, 6:00am to 11:00pm, and M - F, 6:00am to 9:00pm)
  2. Telephone – File your bi-weekly unemployment claim using by calling your Pennsylvania Teleclaims (PAT) local number (Sunday, 6:00am to 11:00pm, and M - F, 6:00am to 9:00pm)

  • Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday - Call in your bi-weekly claim filing if your Social Security Number ends in an even number
  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday - Call in your bi-weekly claim filing if your Social Security Number ends in an odd number

  1. Mail – If you are unable to file online or by telephone, you may apply to file bi-weekly claims by mail.

Beware of the Waiting Week. Your first week of benefits is called a "waiting week" – this means you will not be paid benefits during your first week of eligibility, but you must still file a claim to get credit for waiting.

Expect your first unemployment benefit payment within 4 weeks of your initial filing. If you have applied for direct deposit, it will take an estimated 4 weeks to take effect - prior to this time your benefits will be deposited into a debit card account. Your bi-weekly unemployment benefit payments will be available a few business days after filing.

Unemployment Benefits:

Health care benefits may also be available through the Health Coverage Tax Credit - Check COBRA and The IRS for details.

Pennsylvania workers may be eligible for online career and training assistance at PA CareerLinks.

Filing for extensions:

If an extended benefit period is declared, based on unemployment rates, and it appears that you qualify, you will be notified with instructions to extend your unemployment benefits.

Ending Unemployment:

When you return to work, file for credit for the remaining few days you didn't work, and report wages earned for the week. Then, just stop filing - when you stop weekly filing, your unemployment benefits automatically end.


Make sure to keep a copy of your work search record. You may be required to supply copies to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

If you receive a busy signal when you call, try again during a less busy period. Call volumes can be busy Monday - Tuesday. The easiest times to call are late each day, and toward the end of the week.

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