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Act 60
Changes to Pennsylvania's Unemployment Compensation Law

Signed into law on June 12, 2012, Act 60 helps preserve the Unemployment Compensation (UC) system for individuals who lose their job through no fault of their own. It also puts Pennsylvania's drained UC Trust Fund on a path to solvency.
 
The frequently asked questions below are a list of questions that claimants typically have associated with Act 60. Before contacting your UC Service Center, please review the list of questions and answers below to learn more about how the law changes associated with Act 60 may impact you.

Eligibility Requirement Changes

Question: What is a base year?
Answer: The base year is the first four quarters of the last five completed calendar quarters at the time your claim is filed. The wages you were paid during your base year determines, in part, if you can collect UC and how much you can collect.
 
Question: What percentage of my total base year wages may be paid in my high quarter to financially qualify for UC benefits?
Answer: You may be paid no more than 50.5 percent of your base year wages in your high quarter.
 
Question: What is the minimum amount of wages that may qualify me for benefits?
Answer: You must be paid at least $1,688 in your high quarter and have total base year wages of at least $3391.
 
Question: If I can't qualify for a certain UC weekly benefit rate because my high quarter wages are too low compared to my base year wages, may I still be considered for a lower rate?
Answer: Yes, you can be considered for the next two lower rates.
 
Question: If I make $100 in a week, will it count as a credit week?
Answer: Yes, you must earn at least $100 in a week for the week to qualify as a credit week.
 
Question: How many credit weeks do I need to qualify for benefits?
Answer: You must have at least 18 credit weeks.
 
Question: I applied for benefits, but have been denied because of the reason I was separated from my job. How can I purge my disqualification?
Answer: If you were separated on or after Jan. 1, 2013, to re-qualify for UC you must earn at least six times (6X) your UC weekly benefit rate in employment that is covered under the Pennsylvania UC law.
 
Examples of a disqualifying separations: quitting your job, getting fired from your job for willful misconduct, or if you were determined to be self-employed.
 
Question: What if I still don't qualify financially, after all factors have been considered?
Answer: At the beginning of a new calendar quarter you have the opportunity to reapply for UC benefits. The new application, filed after the quarter changes, will have a new base year. This new base year will drop the oldest quarter of wages and will include a more recent quarter of wages. Since a different time period is being considered, your high quarter wages, total base year wages and/or credit weeks may have changed, potentially providing a different outcome regarding your financial eligibility for UC benefits.

Benefits Changes

Question: What is the maximum benefit rate?
Answer: The maximum benefit rate is $573.
 
Question: How many weeks will I be able to collect UC benefits, if I have 19 credit weeks?
Answer: Your maximum benefit allowance (MBA), or the maximum amount of benefits you may receive, is calculated by multiplying your weekly benefit rate (WBR) by the number of credit weeks in your base year. If you have 19 credit weeks, your MBA is 19 times your WBR. You must have at least 18 credit weeks to qualify for benefits, and your MBA may not exceed 26 times your WBR.
 
Question: How do part-time earnings impact my UC benefits?
Answer: If your application for benefits (AB) date is Jan. 1, 2013, or later, your partial benefit credit is equal to 30 percent of your weekly benefit rate. If you work part time during a claim week (Sunday through Saturday), and earn an amount less than or equal to your partial benefit credit, your earnings will not reduce your UC benefits. If you earn more than your partial benefit credit, the gross amount of your earnings that exceed your partial benefit credit will reduce your benefits for that week on a dollar-for-dollar basis. If you earn more than the sum of your weekly benefit rate and your partial benefit credit, you would not be eligible for any benefits for that week.
 
NOTE: If, for example, your maximum benefit allowance (MBA) is 20 times your weekly benefit rate, and you receive your weekly benefit rate each week, you will collect benefits for 20 weeks. If you receive partial UC payments for one or more weeks, you may collect UC for more than 20 weeks. However, you may not receive more than your MBA and you may not receive benefits for weeks after the end of your benefit year.
 
Question: I had a UC claim and collected all of the benefits available on that claim and am still unemployed. I filed for another UC claim, but have been told that I am ineligible for UC benefits because I don't have a "valid application." What does this mean?
Answer: In order to establish a subsequent UC claim after a prior claim has ended, a claimant must have worked and earned wages equal to at least six times the weekly benefit rate of his prior UC claim. The wages must have been earned after the application for benefits (AB) date of the previous claim and before the AB date of the new claim. If the subsequent AB date is Jan. 1, 2013, or later, the wages must be earned in "employment;" as defined in the UC law.

Recovery of Fault Overpayments

Question: I have an UC fault overpayment. How long can the department use my future UC benefits to recoup this overpayment?
Answer: If your overpayment corresponds to an an application for benefits (AB) date of June 17, 2012, or later, the department may recoup the overpayment from future benefits for ten (10) years from the end of the benefit year. If your overpayment relates to an earlier AB date, the recoupment period is six years from the end of the benefit year.
 
Question: Why is my federal income tax refund being intercepted and applied to my UC overpayment?
Answer: Federal and state law allow the department to collect outstanding principal and interest due on certain fault overpayments through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP).

Definitions

Base Year: The first four of the last five completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the effective date of the initial filing. This chart illustrates how the base year is determined.
 
 
High quarter: The calendar quarter during the base year in which the highest amount of wages was paid.
 
Weekly Benefit Rate (WBR): The amount of UC benefits payable to a claimant for a week of total unemployment.
 
Rate table: A chart in the UC law entitled "Table Specified for Determination of Rate and Amount of Benefits," which is used to determine a claimant's WBR. Here is portion of the rate table to illustrate how base year wages are used to establish the WBR.
 
Part A
Highest
Quarterly
Wage
Part B

Rate of
Compensation
Part C

Qualifying
Wages
4888-4912
198
9727
4913-4937
199
9777
4938-4962
200
9826
4963-4987
201
9876
4988-5012
202
9925
5013-5037
203
9975
 
Credit week: A calendar week in the base year when a claimant earned wages in "employment," as defined under the UC law, of $100 or more.
 
Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA): The maximum amount of benefits you may receive during the 52-week period beginning with the effective date of the application (i.e., the benefit year).
 
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to receive unemployment compensation.
 
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