[Update] While Pennsylvania has started paying the $600 FPUC weekly payment to more claimants, it is well behind in processing new claims and making retroactive payments. This is a known issue as their systems are having several technical glitches and struggling to handle the volume of claims. However the good news, per the comments below, is that the number of new claims being processed has improved and more and more people are seeing some of the enhanced Unemployment benefits
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) manages the states’ unemployment insurance program. See further details below on the newly enhanced benefits available now and how to file a claim. And per the official NJ UI website, they are aware of the ongoing issues people are experiencing when filing claims.
COVID 19 Enhanced Benefits and Payment Issues
Under the CARES act, there are three types of federal unemployment assistance now available:
• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): expands eligibility for individuals who are typically ineligible for
Unemployment benefits, for example independent contractors, and self-employed and “gig” workers. PUA Claimants will be receiving their PUA benefit payments via paper checks for the foreseeable future as a precaution due to the recent discovery of attempts by scammers using personal information obtained from sources other than L&I to apply for PUA.
Eligible, approved claimants who have no issues with their claim will receive their very first PUA payment – whether it’s the backdated lump sum payment or a regular weekly payment – within one week or less after filing their first certification. Claimants will receive their regular weekly payments within three business days after filing their weekly certification. Questions about your claims should be emailed to UCPUA@pa.gov. You should expect to receive a response within 7 days. This email address is for PUA questions only. Any emails unrelated to PUA will not receive a response.
• Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): provides an additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits. All individuals collecting any type of UC, including PEUC, will receive $600 per week in addition to their weekly benefits as calculated. FPUC payments began the week ending April 4, 2020 and will end July 25, 2020. UC claimants should now be receiving the FPUC payments, which are paid approximately one week after regular UC benefits are paid. Once the PUA Program is making payments, FPUC payments will be made retroactively for any backdated weeks of benefits for weeks ending April 4, 2020 and later. The $600 per week will be separate payments from your bi-weekly benefit.
• Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who previously collected state or federal unemployment compensation (UC) but exhausted those benefits. PEUC benefits are available to qualified individuals whose regular UC benefits exhausted July 6, 2019 or later; and are unemployed for weeks within the time frame of March 29 through December 26, 2020. Learn more about PEUC in the Pennsylvania PEUC Claimants Brochure (UCP-26) and PEUC FAQs for additional information.
Filing a Claim for Regular UI
At this time, only our Internet Initial Application for UC benefits is available. Click here to continue filing an application for PA UC benefits.
Filing a Claim for PEUC
Individuals who are currently receiving regular unemployment benefits do NOT need to apply. Once the balance of your benefits is received, you will automatically be enrolled in the PEUC program for the additional 13 weeks of benefits.
Filing an Initial Claim for PUA
Make sure to review the PUA System Guide for helpful information on what to have ready to prepare for registering and filing your initial claim. You’ll also want to collect proof of earnings documents in advance. Click here to File for PUA
You CAN manage everything through your PUA dashboard – check on your claim status, upload documents, see payment information, etc.
My employer offered me my job back but at reduced hours. I would make more staying on unemployment. Can I do this?
No. If you are offered work by your employer and refuse to accept it, even if it is at reduced hours, and your acceptance is without good cause, you may no longer be eligible for UC. Determining whether there was good cause for a refusal of work is driven by the facts of each claimant’s circumstances. UC staff would review those specific reasons and make determinations based on the facts of their individual cases.
If you do return to work at reduced hours, and this results in a reduced weekly income compared to your weekly income prior to filing for UC, you may be eligible for partial UC plus the $600 FPUC per week.
See more FAQs and Scenarios specific to PA residents here.
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