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The basics of unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania

People who have lost their job in Pennsylvania should consider applying for unemployment compensation.

Finding yourself suddenly out of work can be a stressful and emotional time. Figuring out a way to ensure you are able to support yourself and your family can be overwhelming. In an effort to support those going through such a challenging time, individuals in Pennsylvania who have lost their jobs may apply for unemployment compensation.

QUIT OR DISCHARGE?

One of the most common misconceptions regarding unemployment compensation is that only individuals who are discharged from their employment are eligible for benefits.

In fact, there are circumstances when people who quit may be eligible for unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania. Similarly, there are situations in which individuals who are discharged may be found ineligible.

For instance, in some cases, you may still be eligible for unemployment if you quit your job for health reasons. In such situations, you are required to tell your employer about your work restrictions and allow them an opportunity to accommodate your restrictions. If the employer is not able to accommodate your limitations, you may be eligible for unemployment.

Other potential scenarios in which you may be eligible for unemployment after quitting a job, include:

  • Transportation issues that were not your fault, if you tried to find other transportation
  • Following a spouse to a new location
  • To attend training provided under the Trade Readjustment Act (TRA)
  • Unsuitable work
  • Monetary expectations not fulfilled

It is important to note, however, that whether you will be eligible under these situations depends on a number of different factors.

Individuals who are discharged from employment may be found ineligible for benefits if it is shown that they were discharged for "willful misconduct." Whether you were discharged for willful misconduct will depend on the facts surrounding your separation.

ABLE AND AVAILABLE TO WORK?

In order to receive unemployment compensation, you also have to be able and available to work. Being able to work does not mean that you have to be able to accept any job, but you must be able to accept work that is suitable for you.

You are considered available to work if you are ready, willing and able to accept a suitable job. To be eligible for unemployment compensation, you need to be able and available to work during the period you receive benefits.

OTHER ISSUES

In addition to these basic questions, there are a variety of other, complex issues that can affect an individual's eligibility for unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania. For instance, if you received severance pay upon your separation from work, it could reduce or delay your unemployment compensation payments.

Also, if you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits, you may be authorized to receive partial or full unemployment benefits at the same time you earn wages from working a part-time job. There are specific requirements on the type of employment that qualifies, and a limitation on how much you can earn in such employment. Certain kinds of employment, however, might disqualify you altogether from receipt of unemployment benefits and could even lead to your obligation to repay benefits that you already received. For these reasons, you should speak to an attorney if you plan to coordinate your receipt of benefits with income from other employment.

If you are unemployed, you should explore your options to receive unemployment compensation to get you through this difficult time. As the process can be complex and unemployment hearings can be overwhelming, it is a wise choice to seek the counsel of a skilled unemployment compensation attorney to ensure your interests are safeguarded.

Keywords: unemployment compensation, Pennsylvania