Claiming Unemployment Compensation in Pennsylvania
If you have lost your employment through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to collect unemployment compensation benefits, as provided for by the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law. If your initial claim for benefits was denied, however, an experienced employment lawyer can help you prepare a compelling claim for benefits at a hearing or appeal. Rothman Gordon is based in Pittsburgh and helps people across Western Pennsylvania receive the unemployment benefits they need.
Applying, Hearings and Appeals
There are up to three stages in any claim for unemployment benefits. First you apply for benefits. If your claim for benefits is denied, you can have a hearing. If your claim for unemployment benefits is denied at your hearing, you can appeal. Employees and employers are allowed to represent themselves at unemployment compensation hearings, but have a right to be represented by legal counsel. Our attorneys have helped many people recover unemployment benefits in both hearings and appeals. In many cases, our investigation will show that you may have been let go from your job for an unlawful reason. If that is the case, our lawyers can represent you in a legal claim against your former employer.
You should receive unemployment compensation if you lost your job for any reason other than willful misconduct. It is not necessary for an employee to become completely unemployed to be eligible for benefits. For example, an employee who has been reduced from full time to part time position may be eligible to receive partial unemployment compensation benefits. In some cases, if you quit for a “necessitous and compelling” reason, such as harassment at work or due to illegal actions by your employer, you may still qualify for unemployment compensation. An employment attorney can help you with your claim.
If you need assistance with unemployment, email us or call (412) 338-1195.
Understanding more about Unemployment compensation
In order to be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits, you must meet three basic standards. You must: (1) be financially eligible, (2) be separated from employment for a qualifying reason, and (3) be able to work and available for work and do the things required under the unemployment law to maintain eligibility for benefits.
If you receive unemployment compensation, you must report your income to unemployment. Severance payments that exceed 40% of Pennsylvania’s average annual wage are deducted from your unemployment compensation amounts, with the deductible portion of severance pay allocated to the weeks immediately following the job loss, based on your full-time weekly wage.
You must be particularly careful about jobs as “independent contractors” or “consultants.” If you become unemployed and go into business as a consultant, independent contractor, or start a business, you become ineligible for unemployment. If you are found to be ineligible, you may have to pay back some of the unemployment compensation benefits you received. The exception to this rule is a “sideline” activity; if you had a business on the side while working as an employee, you may be able to continue the sideline activity without becoming ineligible. Issues involving self employment can be tricky. You may want to consult an employment attorney.