Support Withholding From Unemployment Compensation
This pamphlet was prepared to help you understand support withholding. It is designed for informational purposes only and should not be considered a statement of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law.
The Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation (UC) Law requires the Department of Labor & Industry (department) to deduct support payments from the UC benefits of persons having enforced support obligations. An enforced obligation is one in which a person has requested the aid of a support enforcement agency in order to receive support payments. In Pennsylvania, the support enforcement agency is the Domestic Relations Section (DRS) of a County Court of Common Pleas.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) uses a system known as the Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement System (PACSES). Under this system, only the County Courts of Common Pleas can initiate support orders that affect your UC payments. The notice of the Court Order and the funds intercepted from UC benefits are transferred between the department and DHS daily, Monday through Friday.
When you owe an enforced obligation, the department is permitted to obtain that information from the DRS handling your obligation or from you when you file an application for benefits. If you are determined eligible for UC benefits, the DRS is notified. When the DRS sends the department a notice of the Court Order, DHS State Collection and Disbursement Unit (SCDU) will begin receiving a portion of your benefits and will make the distribution in accordance with the Court Order.
For each week you are eligible to receive UC benefits, the department will deduct the lesser of a specified amount or percentage from the net amount payable for distribution by SCDU. The following examples show how your UC payment will be affected.
Assume your weekly benefit rate is $100 and the DRS has requested the lesser of $55 or 50%. For each week you are eligible to receive benefits, $50 will be sent to SCDU.
Assume your weekly benefit rate is $100 and the DRS has requested the lesser of $25 or 50%. For each week you are eligible to receive benefits, $25 will be sent to SCDU.
If you elect to have Federal Withholding Tax (FWT) withheld from your UC benefits, the percentage indicated on your Court Order and/or UC-503A letter will be calculated on the net amount payable before the deduction is made for FWT.
Of course, your benefits may be subject to other deductions as required by the Pennsylvania UC Law. These deductions, applicable to all claimants, could be for earnings during the week claimed, a pension you receive, or other reasons. Such deductions and your rights and responsibilities while filing for UC benefits are explained in your Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Handbook, which you received when you filed your initial application for UC benefits.
Support withholding will continue until the UC benefits to which you are entitled are exhausted or until the DRS no longer requires withholding, whichever comes first.
The types of UC benefits from which support is withheld include: regular state UC, state and federal extended benefits, UC for Federal Employees (UCFE), UC for Ex-servicemembers (UCX), Trade Readjustment Allowance benefits (TRA), and Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
If you are determined ineligible for any week in which the support payment has been forwarded to the DRS, the amount of the support payment, as well as the amount that was paid to you and the amount withheld for federal taxes (if any), will be considered overpaid. You will be liable to repay these monies.
If support payments are withheld from your UC benefits, the department will mail you a UC-503A letter. If there is any change in the attachment amount or in the Court of Jurisdiction you will be notified by mail. The letter will state:
Why withholding will be done;
The Court ordered amount or percentage which will be withheld each week from your UC benefits;
When withholding will begin;
Who to contact if you reside outside of Pennsylvania or your Court Order is from a state other than Pennsylvania.
If you feel that the amount to be withheld is unfair, or you wish to raise any dispute, you are advised to contact the DRS.
When support payments are withheld from your UC benefits, you may find it useful, for income tax or other purposes, to have written receipts for the payments. Receipts can be provided by the DRS handling your support obligation.
Claimants Filing for Partial Benefits
If support payments are withheld from your wages and your UC benefits for the same week, you are advised to contact the DRS.
UCP-24 REV 6-15