UNEMPLOYMENT & INDIVIDUAL AID

If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), you may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers' Compensation benefits. The Department of Labor & Industry will continue to provide important employment benefit updates as the situation evolves. PA Unemployment Compensation Information

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Workers and Unemployment Compensation

Q. Who qualifies for unemployment compensation?

Unemployment compensation is available to many Pennsylvanians who have lost their job for reasons that aren’t their fault and meet the state’s standards for time working, wages earned or both.  Those who have had their hours cut due to the coronavirus may also quality for partial employment compensation.

Q. How much unemployment compensation can I get?

The amount you will receive is linked to what you earned while working.  This formula is set by the state, and additional information is available here.  The total is usually close to half of what you previously earned.  However, through July 31, 2020, the federal government will provide an additional Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation of $600 a week, per person.  This additional $600 is over and above whatever else you collect in unemployment insurance.

Q. Who qualifies for the additional $600?

Individuals can qualify for this additional payment if they are collecting regular unemployment compensation, including Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX), or the following unemployment compensation programs: Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Extended Benefits, ShortTime Compensation (STC), Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA), Disaster Unemployment Assistance), and payments under the Self-Employment Assistance Program.

Q. When will I start receiving this additional payment?

According to the State’s site, beginning with the week ending April 4, 2020, if you file for and are eligible to receive these benefits, you will receive an additional $600.

Q. How long will I receive unemployment compensation?

The duration of your benefits depends on how long you have worked.  The maximum, from PA is currently 26 weeks.  However, Congress recently added 13 additional weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits, bringing the total to 39 weeks.

Q. Are individuals who previously collected state or federal unemployment compensation but exhausted those benefits eligible to receive additional benefits?

The CARES Act creates a new temporary federal program called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).  PEUC provides up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits to individuals who previously collected state or federal unemployment compensation but exhausted those benefits.  Click here for more guidance from the state on eligibility.

Q. Are contractors and gig economy workers eligible for Unemployment Compensation?

H.R. 748 established a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program through December 2020, which covers those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits such as the self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers.  Individuals would apply through their state unemployment compensation office, and states are fully reimbursed for the cost of benefits under the legislation.  Amounts paid to individuals will be based on their recent earnings.  These individuals are eligible for the additional Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation $600 weekly increase as well.  The state administers this program – to find out if you can file for PUA, please see this helpful site.

Q. Is there funding to help people get food who need it?

Yes, the CARES Act provides $15.8 billion for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), $450 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to assist food banks across the country and $8.8 billion for Child Nutrition Programs in order to ensure that children receive meals when school is not in session.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides $500 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), $400 million for TEFAP and $250 million for the Senior Nutrition program which provides home-delivered and pre-package meals to low-income seniors.