Pennsylvanians who applied for Unemployment Compensation on or after March 15 may need to reapply and have their financial determination renewed if they are still receiving benefits. In previous years, most people were only eligible for benefits for 26 weeks, however the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and the state Extended Benefits programs have made many people eligible for benefits for more than a year.
Due to the surge in claims from the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of individuals will reach this one-year mark in the next few weeks and the requirements of the state or federal program may require them to refile their claims to continue receiving unemployment benefits.
“L&I knows unemployment benefits are critical to Pennsylvanians who continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Department of Labor & Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier. “We are making the benefit year renewal process as seamless as possible to help support Pennsylvanians who continue to be out of work one year after the pandemic began.”
Individuals receiving benefits through the UC program and its two extensions, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits, should refile their claim at the end of their benefit year if they have earned wages during the previous 12 months. Reapplying may be necessary because financial determinations only cover a one-year span. Individuals on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will be notified if they need to refile their claim.
An individual can find their benefit year end date on the system where they file their claims, as well as on their financial eligibility determination document.
To refile, follow the same procedure as when the claim was first opened:
– Visit uc.pa.gov
– Click on “File an Initial Claim”
– Follow the steps to input information, including providing updated wage and work history from the prior 12 months
UC staff will review the application once received to make sure individuals are eligible for a new UC claim.
– If they qualify for a new claim, they will begin on a new Unemployment Compensation claim regardless of whether they had weeks remaining on their prior claim for any program
– If they do not qualify for a new claim, they will continue on an extension program, such as PEUC or EB
Most individuals will continue on with their payments as normal, however, some individuals with complex situations may experience a delay while staff conducts a review. While their application is being processed, claimants should continue filing their biweekly claims.
Prior to the pandemic, individuals qualified for a maximum of 26 weeks of UC benefits and were not eligible for a new claim at the end of their benefit year if they did not have wages in the previous 12 months. Because of the additional weeks currently provided by PEUC and EB, most claimants who do not qualify for a new UC claim at the end of their benefit year will still have eligible weeks to claim. L&I has also partnered with PA CareerLink to identify individuals who are reaching the end of their unemployment benefits and provide individualized employment services to assist them with rejoining the workforce.