Unemployment Compensation

Unemployment Compensation (UC)


The unemployment compensation system is designed to ease the transition period from one job to another when a worker loses a job through "no fault of his/her own." Workers and their employers pay taxes into the unemployment compensation system to support unemployment benefits.

If you have worked during the past 18 months and you are unemployed or had your hours reduced, you need to call the Unemployment Compensation Service Center to file a new claim or reopen a claim. On October 2, 2000 all Unemployment Compensation offices in the Philadelphia area were closed. Instead of going to an office, you have to call 215-856-6990 or 1-888-313-7284 hearing Monday-Friday to file a new claim or reopen an old claim. The TTY access number for the deaf and hard of hearing is 1-888-334-4046. Spanish speaking claimants should call 1-877-888-8104.

The Service Center receives the most calls on Mondays, so you might get faster service if you call Tuesday through Friday, especially in the early mornings and late afternoons. All Unemployment Compensation matters are now handled over the phone. There are no offices to visit in person.

If you have access to the Internet, you can get general information on the Unemployment Compensation system, file your claim on-line, and download a claim application that you can complete and mail or fax back. The web site is http://www.dli.state.pa.us.

When you call the Service Center, an automated message gives you several options to choose from including: filing a new claim or reopening an existing claim, speaking with a representative, and getting help with the teleclaims (PAT) system. If you do not have a touch-tone phone, you should stay on the line and a representative will pick up. The information that you should have ready is:

  • Social Security Number
  • Name and address of last employer
  • Your most recent pay stub
  • Date of last day of work
  • Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen
  • Valid driver's license number if you have one

After you finish the call, you will be sent paperwork that you must complete and return to the Service Center. You can come to PUP and use the fax machine to fax this information to the Service Center. After they have received your information, you will receive three separate mailings: a Notice of Financial Determination, a Claim Confirmation Letter, and an Unemployment Compensation Handbook. You should receive this information within ten working days of filing your claim. The Notice of Financial Determination will list your wages earned over a certain time period, will tell you if you are financially eligible based on these wages, and will tell you how much money you will get each week. If you want to appeal the information listed, you will have fifteen days from the date of the Notice to appeal.

Once you have opened your claim, you must register with the Employment Office each week you are claiming for UC. You must register each week through one of two acceptable methods to receive your UC benefits:
1) Send in a mail claim (if you are eligible) or,
2) Call the Pennsylvania Teleclaims (PAT) number for your area. Below is a list of PAT numbers for different areas:

Dialing Area PAT Number
Toll Free (888) 255-4728
Philadelphia (215) 560-1978
Philadelphia (215) 560-2817
Lansdowne (610) 284-6882
Norristown (610) 270-1925
Bristol (215) 781-3250
Chester (610) 447-5359
Coatesville (610) 384-0807

Waiting for the First Check

  1. No one is eligible for the first week that they are unemployed. This is called the 'Waiting Week'. The UC counselor should explain this to you when you call to start your claim. Under the past system, it took up to four weeks for an individual to receive his/her first week. However, due to the delays caused by changing to an automated system, it can take much longer. If you are experiencing delays, call the Benefits Counselor at the UIC so that she can check on the status of your claim and get it expedited. Once you start receiving checks, you will receive one every two weeks.
  2. If the UC office is delaying your check because the employer hasn't responded to the request for information on why you left work, the UC office should make a decision within two weeks based on what you have told them. If the employer disagrees with the determination they may appeal.
  3. If your eligibility is delayed because of a discrepancy in wage information, you should ask to speak to the supervisor. Tell the supervisor that you want a field representative to check on the delay, and get it cleared up. Make sure this is happening. If you are on UC for federal employees (UCFE) the UC office should make a decision using your pay stubs and W-2 form to determine what your benefit will be.

Benefits while waiting for UC checks

A person with a child or children may also get Welfare while waiting for his/her unemployment checks to begin (see Welfare Eligibility section page 45). S/he will have to pay back Welfare only if they receive their unemployment compensation. S/he may also be eligible for Food Stamps and Medical Assistance, according to the eligibility requirements for those programs. However, UC does count as earnings in determining eligibility

Late Checks

An Unemployment check is not considered late until ten days after the Saturday it was mailed. If a check is late, you can call (215) 856-6990 and ask about its status. They will ask you for your Social Security number and the week ending dates of the weeks in question.

Unemployment links

Apply for Unemployment Compensation Online

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