Unemployment Compensation

You lost your job and your employer has threatened to fight your claim for unemployment benefits.  Now what?  Losing your job is bad enough without the added uncertainty of being denied the limited income unemployment compensation provides.  Knowing your rights and the process to follow will help you collect.

Today, most claims begin online.  Visit www.uc.pa.gov for initial claim filing instructions and for biweekly filing thereafter.  Be sure to answer the online questionnaire truthfully and completely.  Intentionally false or misleading answers may not only result in termination of benefits, but may result in action to recover benefits already paid and penalties.

Even if you are financially eligible for benefits, your benefits may be denied for other reasons.  At the time you file your claim, the employer is also notified and given an opportunity to submit information regarding the circumstances of your separation. After reviewing your claim and the employer’s response, the unemployment service center will mail an initial Notice of Determination to both parties.  The Notice of Determination will state whether benefits have been granted or denied and the reasons for the determination.

In general, there are only two reasons why you can be denied unemployment benefits:  (1) you quit, or (2) you engaged in willful misconduct.

For willful misconduct, the law sets the bar high for the employer.  The employer must prove that you were aware of a rule or policy of the employer and deliberately violated it.  In most cases, the employer must establish the employee’s awareness through evidence of a written rule or policy and written acknowledgement of receipt of the rule or policy from the employee.

If you receive a Notice of Determination informing you your benefits have been denied, you must appeal by the date on the notice or you may lose your unemployment benefits.  Timely adherence to filing deadlines is essential. For more detailed information on unemployment claims procedures, see the blog “A Primer On Unemployment Claims For Employees” on this website.

If you are unemployed and unjustly denied your unemployment benefits, don’t let your safety net be cut out from underneath you. Please call me at (215) 493-8287 or email me at scott@fegleylaw.com.