Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Answers to the Most Common FAQs About Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefits

John A. Gallagher is an Employment Lawyer Who Handles Pennsylvania Unemployment Hearings in Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Philadelphia County, Berks County and Lancaster County

Can My Ex-Employer Stop Me From Getting Unemployment in Pennsylvania?

Oh, yes. And they often try. Two most common ways methods they use to stop you? Claiming you engaged in willful misconduct or that you quit your job without a necessitous and compelling reason.

This Video Discusses What the Term Willful Misconduct Means Under Section 402 Pennsylvania Unemployment Law

If I Am Fired for Alleged Poor Performance, Can I Get PA Unemployment Compensation?

Yes, mere poor performance is not a basis for denying unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania.

Why Would My Employer Try to Stop Me from Getting Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefits?

Only large employers pay for unemployment directly. Otherwise, your claim is paid by an insurance fund that every employer contributes into. Unemployment benefits can be very expensive, so the motivation for large employers is obvious. For small employers? They fight it because they believe their unemployment premiums will go up if they lose. However, in many cases, they fight it because they just don't like you anymore. Ahh, the humanity.

In This Video, John Discusses the Most CommonNecessitous and Compelling Reasons to Resign from a Job and Still be Eligible for Unemployment Compensation Under Section 402(e) of Pennsylvania's Unemployment Law

How Does the Application Process Work for Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation?

Employee files claim electronically or via telephone. The Unemployment Service Center sends request to employer for information about why the separation occurred. Meanwhile, you get a Notice of Financial Determination advising how much in benefits you will get IF YOU ARE APPROVED [Note: Getting the NFD does not mean you have been approved - everyone gets one, even if they were fired for stealing $1 Million from the company]. Once the employer has provided reason for separation, it is compared to your initial application, and the documentation employer sent in. By this time, it is possible that you have already begun to get benefits, but that does not mean you will continue to get them.

Having received the employer's information, a person in the Service Center makes a decision based upon all of the paperwork as to whether you are entitled to benefits. They send out a Notice of Determination setting forth their findings as to your eligibility, and the reasons for their findings. Either you or the employer has 15 days to appeal from this (NO EXCEPTIONS). If no appeal is filed, then the Service Center determination is the final word.

If there is an appeal from either side, a Hearing before an Unemployment Referee is scheduled. The Referee's decision is appealable, but as a practical matter, they are rarely overturned.

What Happens in a Pennsylvania Unemployment Hearing?

Click Here to find out how it works.

You May Want to Look at This Video, in Which John Discusses What Happens During an Unemployment Hearing Before a Referee in Pennsylvania

What is the Maximum Amount of Unemployment Benefits I Can Get in Pennsylvania?

Roughly $573 per week. If you make $55,000 or more a year, then you will get up to $573 per week, and no more. Roughly, take 10% of your annual earnings, and that is what you are going to get in unemployment benefits each week.

If I Am Self-Employed and My Business Goes Under, Can I Get Unemployment in Pennsylvania?

No. If you own a majority of the company, or exercise control over a Company, then you can't get unemployment, even if the Company files for bankruptcy and it was not your "fault." End of story, I am afraid.

If I Am Getting Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefits, Do I Lose Them If I Take a Part-Time Job?

You may earn up to 40% of your weekly unemployment benefits from a part-time W-2 job without suffering any loss in your unemployment benefits. So, if you are getting $573 per week in unemployment benefits, you can earn $225 per week without losing any benefits. If you earn more than 40% in a given week, your benefits will be reduced in accordance with a formula that unemployment uses. REMEMBER, this assumes you are working as a part-time employee on a W-2 basis....

I Am Getting Pennsylvania Unemployment and Took an Assignment as an Independent Contractor - Am I Disqualified from Getting Unemployment Benefits in Pennsylvania?

If you do work as an independent contractor, PA Unemployment Law assumes you are self-employed. If you are self -employed, you are gainfully employed on a full-time basis (no matter how much or how little you earn). If you are gainfully employed on a full-time basis, you are ineligible for unemployment.

So, the question is, can you prove that, although you have done work as an independent contractor, you are not self-employed. The answer is, yes, but it is not easy...Even so, there are a number of defenses to a a finding by unemployment that you are "self employed." 

Can I Get Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation If I am Receiving Severance?


Click Here to go to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor's Frequently Asked Questions page.

You also may want to examine my more recent Blog of Pennsylvania Unemployment FAQs.

Philadelphia Area Unemployment Lawyer Serving West Chester, Media, Norristown, Doylestown, Lancaster, Reading, Philadelphia and surrounding communities.

Helping Pennsylvania's Workforce Since 1991
John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents employees in Pennsylvania.
Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to Family and Medical Leave…

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, from willful misconduct, to voluntary quit, to Referee Hearings, to severance issues…

Click Here to e-mail John directly.

Need a lawyer in your area?  We have referral arrangements throughout the USA.  Fill out our Contact Form, and we will put you in touch.

Thanks for checking in with us.


Anonymous said...

What if I make part-time money without any contract? Like if I sell handmade products on Amazon or Ebay?

Cody said...

Hi, I was recently laid off from my position. I was approved for benefits and put on a 6 week suspension for a prior incident that I was not reporting because the employer I started for wasn't paying me. My question is though, after I cross over my PBC and become partially employed how many hours am I able to work before they cut off my unemployment. I am fortunate enough that my amount I can make weekly exceeds my weekly wages with my prior employer due to alot of overtime early in the year but in hind sight if I pick up part time work I would assume that at some point they would cut me off from receiving unemployment despite not reaching the max I'm able to make. I could especially use the extra income since my UC was suspended If i can find it part time. but I'm limited, in about a month from now when i start school and will only be able to work nights and weekends. I don't want to loose my employment for a work shift i won't be able to hold long term if I find something on day shift. If you're able to please E-mail me at because I'm not sure I will see a response on the site.

Unknown said...

pa has given me 2 different answers and isn't friendly on national Guard side. I was laid off from Boeing. I am traditional (part time) air national guards men. I was told I do not need to claim weekends. but 2 different employee gave me different answers if I have to claim my annual 2 week training camp? Also amtrak hired me as of 12/12/2017. they gave me start date of 1/8/2018 if everything checks out. do I need to still apply for jobs? Thanks for your time. James. contact info

Anonymous said...

I'm working two jobs now a full-time job and a part time job. I'm a school van driver full-time so I'm laid off in the summer. Do I have to change my availability for my part-time job and work more hours to file for unemployment?