If you received Unemployment Compensation (UC) during the pandemic and now need to apply again because you lost your job, you may be confused about how to get started. Here’s some advice that may help you file your new application.
How do I apply?
The best way to apply is online if you can. You can apply by telephone (1-888-313-7284), but it may take days or weeks to get through. If you can’t get through, see “Where to get help” below.
The link to apply is https://benefits.uc.pa.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx. Go to “Sign In/Register.” If you did not previously register for an account online, create a new user account. But if you had an account before, you must use it, including the Username and Password that you used before.
You should click on “Forgot Username/Password?” if you have forgotten your sign-in information. However, it will not help you if you no longer have access to the email address that you used before. Then you will need to call 1-888-313-7284 or get help.
Other problems you may face.
- You will have to get through ID.me again when filing the application. If you previously verified your identity through ID.me, you will not need to verify again. However, you will need to put in your ID.me Username and Password. These may be different from your UC Username and Password. You also will need to receive a code by text (called “MFA”) to continue and complete ID.me, which you can’t do if your phone number has changed since you last used ID.me. You can click on “Help.ID.me” to get help getting your cod.
- You need to update your work registration. Work registration must be done within 30 days to avoid losing benefits. Even if you registered with CareerLink last time, don’t rely on that. Follow the instructions to make sure you have updated as they request.
- You may not be financially eligible for benefits. You must have enough earnings in W-2 employment to qualify. If you don’t qualify, try filing again in the next calendar quarter (the beginning of January, April, July, and October).
- You have an overpayment from a previous claim. If your overpayment was “non-fault,” only 1/3 of your benefits will be offset. If your overpayment was “fault,” they will not pay you any benefits (but you should still file, so you can charge off the overpayment and get benefits in the future).
- You should check how you have selected to receive notices from Unemployment. Go to “Your Personal Profile” and check your preferred method of communication. Generally, it is a bad idea to get notifications only in your dashboard (“Internal Message”) unless you check it regularly. You may miss an important notice, such as a denial that you must appeal in 21 days.
Where to get help.
The groups below may be able to help you with some (but not all) of these issues. Give them a try, especially if you cannot get through to Unemployment for help.
Your state legislators’ offices. Your State Representatives and Senators may be able to get Unemployment to call you. To find out who your legislators are and how to reach them:
In the Philadelphia area: Philadelphia Unemployment Project – they will contact you in response to their online form: https://philaup.org/web/are-your-unemployment-payments-delayed/.
Statewide: Mon Valley Unemployed Committee – https://monvalleyunemployed.org/ or call 412-462-9962.
Legal aid: Find your local office here: https://palegalaid.net/legal-aid-providers-in-pa.
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