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Unemployment Claims FAQ

If you recently lost your job, you likely have many questions about how unemployment benefits work in Pennsylvania and whether you qualify. Here are a few general answers to some of the most common questions our clients at Belt Law Firm, P.C., ask.

Can I qualify for unemployment benefits if I quit my job?

Getting approved for unemployment benefits is possible for someone who voluntarily quit their job, as opposed to being laid off or terminated without fault. But someone who applies for unemployment after voluntarily quitting has the burden of proving the following:

  • They had good cause to quit.
  • That cause was real and substantial and left the claimant no alternative.
  • Before resigning, the claimant made every reasonable effort to maintain their employer/employee relationship.

One example is being forced to quit because a health problem prevents you from continuing your current job and your employer does not offer suitable alternative work. Another could be losing transportation to work through no fault of your own and being unable to find another way to commute.

I have been turned down for benefits. What should I do next?

You have the right to appeal a rejected application for unemployment benefits. However, the time limit to file an appeal is only 21 days – including holidays and weekends – from the mailing date of the rejection letter, unless the 21st day is a weekend or legal holiday, which gives you until the next business day. Once the deadline passes, you must convince an unemployment compensation referee that you missed it for good cause for your appeal to be considered. Obviously, filing the appeal on time is easier.

How much can I expect to receive in benefits?

The level of benefits you receive once approved is called your Weekly Benefit Rate. It is based on how much gross income you earned in your “base year,” generally four out of the last five completed quarters prior to the date you apply. The quarter in which you earned the most is your High Quarter and generally determines your Weekly Benefit Rate, which is about half of what your weekly wage was during your employment, plus up to $8 extra for a dependent spouse and/or children, if any.

Need More Information About Unemployment?

Find out more about unemployment benefits and your rights under Pennsylvania law. Contact Belt Law Firm, P.C., at our Wilkes-Barre office and request a consultation with one of our attorneys. Call us at 570-714-3343 or use our online intake form. We also represent clients in Kingston and Hazleton.