Guide on Applying for Unemployment Compensation

Applying for Regular Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Unemployment Compensation benefits help you replace your income when you have lost work through no fault of your own.

Generally, you must be a W2 worker and have enough work history from the last 18 months to qualify for unemployment compensation benefits.  However, after a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, app based gig drivers are also now eligible for state unemployment compensation.

Below is a video from the Department of Labor and Industry that walks you through the application:


We recommend applying at You can also call the statewide number at 1-888-313-7284. Please note, it may be difficult to reach UC by telephone during high volume times.

For a step by step guide to the UC application created by the Department of Labor and Industry go here.

After you open an unemployment claim, every two weeks you must file a claim at or by calling 888-255-4728 and

  • Report any hours you worked
  • Report any PTO you received
  • Report any pay you earned

We recommend reaching UC with questions using their online chat system at

What do I put for my “Reason for Separation” on my unemployment compensation application?

See our flowchart on selecting your "reason for separation" in unemployment compensation applications (Available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and Vietnamese).

What happens after I apply?

Check your mail for a Confirmation Letter from the government. It will confirm that the government received your application and will have a PIN number on it. Use this PIN number to log in to your account online and begin filing your biweekly certifications. You will also receive a Notice of Financial Determination that will tell you what your weekly benefit will be.  If you were laid off or had a lack of work, you will then start receiving benefits after your biweekly claims.  If you were fired or suspended, or voluntarily stopped working, the government will need to evaluate your situation before benefits are released.

What is a biweekly claim?

In order to receive unemployment compensation, you must file biweekly claims for benefits.  If you are a claimant who is still partially or fully unemployed while an appeal concerning your eligibility is pending, continue to file your bi-weekly claims for benefits. If the appeal is decided in your favor, only benefits for the weeks you claimed will be released for payment.

Each time you file a biweekly claim you must report all work and gross wages earned during that week, regardless of when they are paid.  Unemployment also expects you to call back and update wages if it turns out later you earned more or less than the amount you reported.  Even if you earn only a small amount of money, it is very important that you report your wages. This rule applies to jobs for any employer in any state.

If you fail to report wages, unemployment may later decide that you were not eligible for benefits and issue an overpayment requiring you to pay all of the money back.

What if I was denied benefits?

If you receive a decision from unemployment that finds you ineligible for benefits, appeal the decision within 15 days.  

Learn more about how to appeal your UC denial.