An individual who is out of work in Pennsylvania may qualify for unemployment compensation benefits through the state government. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Office of Unemployment Compensation Benefits is responsible for processing benefit requests and determining whether you are eligible to receive benefits.

The Department first determines whether a person is financially eligible based on their wages and weeks worked in their employment history. If the claimant meets the financial criteria, then the Department will decide whether that person’s separation from employment is valid under the Unemployment Compensation Law. Generally, the claimant must have been terminated or had working hours reduced through no fault of their own; however, there are a few exceptions to this rule. If the claimant is found to have a qualifying separation, then it is their duty to maintain their eligibility for benefits by, among other things, actively seeking employment.

If the Department determines that a claimant is ineligible for unemployment benefits, then the claimant may file an appeal of the determination to an Appeals Referee. The claimant’s appeal will be heard at a hearing before the Referee. Both the claimant and the former employer are permitted to participate in the hearing. A claimant must be well prepared with evidence and witnesses to support their claim at the hearing. Testimony is taken under oath, and both parties are permitted to examine witnesses.