The state answered a big question for workers that have been laid off or let go due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With a stroke of the pen they extended unemployment benefits.
Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak announced yesterday that people who exhaust their regular unemployment compensation (UC) and federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) may now qualify for 13 additional weeks of payments through the state’s Unemployment Compensation Extended Benefits program.
Extended Benefits (EB) are additional UC benefits payable to qualified workers whenever the state’s unemployment rate reaches a certain level determined by law.
The last time the state used the measure was in 2009 and this current benefit period started on May 3, 2020, but benefits are not payable until an individual has exhausted PEUC benefits. EB payments will begin with the week ending July 4, 2020, and are payable only for weeks of unemployment during an EB period.
Important information about the EB program will be sent by mail to all individuals who potentially qualify for the additional benefits.
Qualifications for EB are:
• You are totally or partially unemployed.
• You have exhausted your regular state benefits on your most recent UC claim, or your most recent UC benefit year has ended.
Once qualified, and if you collect the maximum amount of PEUC that you are eligible to receive, an EB Notice of Financial Determination will be mailed to you.
• You must complete your weekly EB online certification in order to claim EB for weeks that you are totally or partially unemployed.
• Each EB online certification corresponds to one specific week, as indicated on the web form. Individuals who opt to use paper claim forms should only use the form that is specifically dated for the week of unemployment you are claiming.
• If you do not receive your Financial Determination within two weeks after you receive your final PEUC payment, call the UC Service Center at 1-888-313-7284.
How to determine EB weekly benefit amount:
• EB weekly benefit payments are the same as regular UC.
• The total amount of EB that you may receive is 50 percent of the amount of regular UC you were financially eligible to receive on your most recent claim.
Example: If you were financially eligible for 26 weeks of regular UC, you may receive up to 13 weeks of EB.
• There is an additional wage test for EB eligibility, so not all individuals will financially qualify.
• EB may only be paid for weeks ending during an EB period.
• If you are entitled to Trade Readjustment Allowances, you may receive fewer weeks of EB.
Additional information on unemployment benefits is available on L&I’s website at www.dli.pa.gov.