Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry

Unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania are administered by the state's Department of Labor and Industry. Unemployment compensation is a complex but intensely valuable program that supports the safety and wellbeing of underemployed or unemployed workers while they seek new employment. In addition to unemployment assistance in the form of state and federal benefits, the Department provides unemployment benefits recipients with an array of resources, opportunities and other supports designed to assist them in their employment searches and equip them to thrive in their new positions. Wrongfully terminated workers can also rely on the state for assistance.

Financial aid assistance is another key area of focus for the Department. It is deeply involved in promoting, administering and improving access to financial aid opportunities for all students. These opportunities include free sources of funding for higher education, such as grants and scholarships, as well as federal and private student loans for qualifying students. Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry is committed to supporting and improving opportunities for all of the state's students and workers.

Student Financial Aid Opportunities in Pennsylvania

Access to nearly all forms of student financial aid in Pennsylvania begins with submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A gateway to financial aid opportunities of all kinds, the FAFSA is the foundational tool relied on by educational and financial organizations and institutions at the federal, state and local levels to assess a student's eligibility for financial aid assistance. Students must resubmit the FAFSA each academic year for continued financial aid assistance, supplying or updating extensive personal identifying and income information. It is crucial that the FAFSA be completed fully, accurately and promptly to assure the best possible reward package. The federal financial aid opportunities for which a student is deemed eligible are explained in the financial aid award package he or she receives once the FAFSA has been processed. These results also play a definitive role in determining a student's eligibility for many educational grants, loans and scholarships.

Over 180 local or regional opportunity-based scholarships and grants are available to students in Pennsylvania. Many universities strategically partner with state and federal agencies to offer a suite of financial aid opportunities to higher education students who are income-eligible or pursuing degrees in high-demand fields such as teaching or medicine. Still more scholarships are available through public and private national organizations, including many designed specifically to provide financial aid to special populations such as veterans and their families. financial aid assistance

Pennsylvania students who need further assistance covering educational expenses can take advantage of several types of student loans including subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loans, Direct Plus loans, Perkins loans and student loans offered by private institutions or lenders.

Unemployment Benefits in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania unemployment benefits provide transitional financial support for unemployed or underemployed workers. Unemployment compensation can be complicated and the unemployment assistance provided by the Department of Labor and Industry is essential to helping workers navigate its complexities. The Department of Labor and Industry's Office of Unemployment Compensation (UC) is responsible for managing all unemployment assistance, including eligibility determinations which are based on financial eligibility and the cause of an applicant's separation from his or her last place of employment. Applicants qualifying for unemployment compensation under those criteria must comply with other program stipulations and complete assigned job search activities weekly to remain eligible for unemployment benefits. Applicants are ineligible for unemployment compensation if they quit their prior employment without cause or engaged in a strike. Applicants dismissed from employment or on unpaid leave due to breach of contract or misconduct are also disqualified.

Unemployment benefits are computed using a complex formula that takes into account multiple income variables, several types of potential withholdings or garnishments, the presence of dependents and other potential state-mandated award reductions. The dollar amount of benefits a recipient can receive and the length of time they expect to receive them for are also governed by a network of special rules, which the UC Office assists applicants in understanding.

Wrongful Termination Procedures in Pennsylvania

Workers who believe they have been subject to wrongful termination in Pennsylvania may contact the Department of Labor and Industry for assistance. As an “at will” state, Pennsylvania does not require employers to provide a reason for separating an employee. However, discrimination against a worker due to his or her race, creed or other protected characteristic is illegal in any circumstance and may be actionable by law.

Cases of workers who may have been wrongfully terminated frequently involve disparate understandings of the definitions and rules regarding issues such as willful misconduct, absenteeism/tardiness, violation of established rules, disruptiveness, equipment or property damage, unsatisfactory work performance and substance use. These situations may be brought to the attention of the Department of Labor and Industry directly by a separated worker, or may come to light during unemployment compensation interviews called to address a disparity in an applicant's initial application. In any event, the Department provides guidance and assistance in determining whether a situation warrants additional investigation or referral.