Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance in Pennsylvania


Eligibility for unemployment in Pennsylvania is an important topic that many residents and employers seek to learn about and engage with every day. Navigating the unemployment insurance eligibility questions and paperwork requires a clear understanding of eligibility guidelines and the application process for receiving benefits. You will find a clear outline of the information you need to determine qualifications for unemployment benefits and what you need to do to access those benefits in this section and the sections that follow.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in Pennsylvania?

Eligibility for EDD, a term commonly used to refer to unemployment insurance, is determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Office of Unemployment Compensation. Who qualifies for unemployment in Pennsylvania is calculated using two primary criteria: financial eligibility and the cause of an applicant’s separation from his or her last place of employment. Applicants who qualify for unemployment under these two assessment factors will be required to meet a series of other stipulations to receive and remain eligible for unemployment benefits.

Financial eligibility for unemployment begins with a review of the amount of time, measured in weeks, that an applicant worked prior to applying for benefits and the total amount of earned wages he or she accumulated in that time. An assessment of an applicant’s eligibility for EDD in PA will be sent to him or her by the Office of Unemployment Compensation after the application has been processed.

The second primary factor in unemployment insurance eligibility in Pennsylvania, as noted above, is the reason for the applicant being displaced from work. Prospective applicants seeking to understand how to apply for unemployment must pay careful attention to this qualification for unemployment when making decisions regarding their employment and while completing their application. To meet eligibility guidelines for EDD, in most circumstances, an applicant must have been released from employment or experienced a significant decrease in available work hours due to wholly external causes, such as a reduced level of business at their place of employment resulting in layoffs or a scaling back of labor hours.

To meet Pennsylvania unemployment compensation eligibility criteria, applicants do not have to be totally without employment. There are a series of circumstances in which an applicant may be employed part time by their main employer or in a secondary employment situation and still qualify to receive limited unemployment insurance benefits. Applicants who are unclear about their eligibility for unemployment insurance in PA due to such complicating factors are encouraged to complete the application and review the Office of Unemployment Compensation’s assessment carefully when it arrives. To learn more about the requirements to obtain unemployment compensation, you can download our comprehensive guide today.

Disqualifications for Unemployment in PA

When investigating how to qualify for unemployment in Pennsylvania, the first thing to examine is how long you have been actively working and drawing a salary. Some applicants will not meet the standards for PA unemployment eligibility because they have not been working long enough or have not yet accumulated the minimum required amount of wages. Another critical requirement to get unemployment that many applicants fail to take into account is the cause of their unemployment. You cannot qualify for unemployment if you have freely quit a source of steady employment without cause or chosen to engage in a strike. If you were dismissed from your place of employment or placed on an unpaid leave of absence due to a failure to meet the standards of employment agreed upon in your contract, such as using prohibited substances, you cannot receive unemployment benefits.

Other Qualifications for Unemployment in PA

Applicants who qualify for unemployment compensation eligibility through demonstration of an appropriate financial status and lawful cause(s) of unemployment in accordance with Pennsylvania state law may begin to receive unemployment insurance benefit payments. However, these payments will not simply continue uninterrupted. To remain eligible for EDD unemployment in Pennsylvania and to continue receiving payments, applicants must comply with a series of requirements.

The first requirement for applicants seeking how to qualify for unemployment benefits on an ongoing basis is to file an unemployment claim for each week they wish to receive benefits. Applicants can apply for up to two weeks of unemployment at a time, but each week will have to be verified independently. To submit this claim, recipients will need their Social Security number and unemployment system PIN number. To maintain their eligibility for unemployment in PA, applicants who are currently employed part time in any capacity will also need to submit information of the amount of wages earned, including associated vacation time and other non-wage employment benefits, and the amount of potential wages available to them on days they chose not work.

Applicants who do not maintain their eligibility for EDD will be deemed “inactive” and cease to receive benefits. To continue to qualify for unemployment in Pennsylvania, applicants must also actively engage in searches for new employment using the Office of Unemployment Compensation’s online portal. It is important that applicants complete this step as soon as possible after applying for benefits, as unemployment recipients have only a few weeks from the start of receiving benefit payments to begin applying for jobs and carrying out qualifying job search activities to maintain their eligibility. Under certain circumstances, the Office of Unemployment Compensation will exempt recipients from these requirements for brief periods of time. For more in-depth answers to the question, “What are the requirements to get unemployment benefits?” download our comprehensive guide here.

What Kind of Employment Development Services Are Available in Pennsylvania?

If you are currently unemployed and need help finding a job, the state of Pennsylvania offers unemployment benefits to eligible applicants, in order to help them get by while pursuing work. In addition to financial assistance, the Employment Development Division of Pennsylvania also offers training benefits, which allow unemployed individuals to learn new skills and get a higher education so that they can earn a better living. Find out more about these employment services by downloading our guide.

What Education Assistance Is Available in Pennsylvania?

Just as unemployed individuals can benefit from services offered by the state, so too can college students. Pennsylvania students can qualify for financial aid from the government, such as loans and grants, which can help them cover the costs of higher education. Find out how you can get financial assistance for your schooling by downloading our guide.