Relief From Charges FAQs

  1. Which employers are charged for a claimant’s benefits?
  2. How do benefit charges affect my tax rate?
  3. Are all employers eligible to request relief from charges ?
  4. Which Notice of Financial Determination triggers the time period to request relief from charges?
  5. Should I file for relief if I feel that the claimant will be denied benefits?
  6. How do I request relief from charges?
  7. If I fax my request for relief to Employer Services, should I mail the original?
  8. Can I file a late request for relief from charges?
  9. My employee opened a claim earlier this year when we laid him off. After a few months we recalled him to work. However, after returning to work, he quit last week to work for another employer. I did not receive another form to request relief from charges. Can I request relief?
  10. Can I request relief from charges if I lay off an employee ?
  11. Will my account be charged for a temporary or intermittent furlough due to a lack of work?
  12. I was already relieved from charges on a prior claim. Why do I have to file for relief from charges when the claimant files a new Application for Benefits?
  13. The claimant is working for me part time. Can I request relief from charges?
  14. Why is my employee collecting UC benefits if I have been granted relief from charges? Who is paying for the benefits?
  15. Why is it taking so long for my relief from charges to be processed?
  16. What happens if I am approved for relief from charges?
  17. What happens if I am denied relief from charges?

1. Which employers are charged for a claimant’s benefits?

The employers that paid wages to the claimant in the base year are charged for the claimant’s benefits. The percentage of benefits charged to each employer is equal to the percentage of base year wages paid by the employer. For example, if employer A paid 75% of the claimant’s base-year wages and employer B paid 25%, employer A is charged for 75% of the benefits paid to the claimant and employer B is charged for 25%. A base-year employer is charged for a claimant’s benefits even if that employer is not the claimant’s last employer.

2. How do benefit charges affect my tax rate?

Benefit charges are debited against your reserve account balance and may affect your UC employer contribution (i.e., tax) rate if you are assigned an experience-based rate. You may exert some control over your contribution rate by maintaining and providing necessary records and information, which will enable the department to charge your account properly and grant relief from charges in appropriate circumstances.

3. Are all employers eligible to request relief from charges?

The relief-from-charge provisions in the Law apply to all contributory employers (that is, employers who pay quarterly UC taxes into the UC Fund). However, relief from charges is available to a reimbursable employer only if the employer pays a yearly “solvency fee” in accordance with section 213 of the Pennsylvania UC Law. If the employer pays the solvency fee for a given calendar year, the employer is eligible to request relief from benefit charges associated with applications for benefits that take effect in that year. A reimbursable employer must decide each year whether it will pay the fee for the upcoming year, and it can decline to pay for a given year without prejudicing its right to pay for a later year.

4. Which Notice of Financial Determination triggers the time period to request relief from charges?

You should file for relief from charges ONLY if the claimant’s financial eligibility code, as shown in the “Elig Code” block on the front of Form UC-44FR indicates that the claimant is eligible (Code 1) or conditionally eligible (Code 7). If you receive a subsequent Notice of Financial Determination corresponding to the same application for benefits (AB date) you do not have to request relief again.

5. Should I file for relief if I feel that the claimant will be denied benefits?

Although a claimant may be financially eligible for benefits, he or she may be disqualified from receiving benefits for another reason, such as voluntarily leaving work or being discharged for willful misconduct. However, under the Law, the claimant may remove or “purge” such a disqualification by subsequently earning six times his or her weekly benefit rate. If a claimant who has purged a disqualification becomes unemployed again, you could be charged for the claimant’s benefits if you neglected to request relief from charges in response to the Notice of Financial Determination. Therefore, even if it appears that the claimant will be denied benefits, you should nonetheless request relief from charges in order to avoid future charges.

6. How do I request relief from charges?

There are two ways to request relief from charges:
1. Complete the applicable sections on the reverse of Form UC-44FR, providing ALL requested information, including:
  • The claimant’s name and social security number
  • Employer’s name and UC account number
  • The last day the claimant worked
  • Detailed separation information or information about the claimant’s part-time employment, with supporting documentation
  • Name and contact information of the person completing the form
2. You may also request relief from charges by letter. Your correspondence must include all the above information in order to be processed as a request for relief.
You may mail or fax a request for relief from charges to the department. If you use Form UC-44FR and send it by fax, both sides of the form must be faxed. Whether you use the form or a letter, include the claimant’s name and social security number and the employer’s name and UC account number on all faxed pages.
 
A request for relief from charges must be filed by the “LAST DATE FOR TIMELY REQUEST” indicated on Form UC-44FR to be timely. The filing date of a request mailed to the department is the US Postal Service postmark date. (A postal meter date does not establish the date of filing.) If a request is faxed to the department, the filing date is the date of receipt indicated by the department’s fax machine.
 
Requests for relief can be mailed or faxed to:
Employer Services
P.O. Box 67504
Harrisburg, PA 17106-7504
Fax: 717-772-0398 or 717-346-0456

7. If I fax my request for relief to Employer Services, should I mail the original?

No. Retain a copy for your records.

8. Can I file a late request for relief from charges?

A request for relief from charges can be filed after the “LAST DATE FOR TIMELY REQUEST.” However, if relief is granted, it will be effective only for weeks ending 15 or more days after the date the request is filed. Benefits for earlier weeks will remain charged to the employer’s UC account.

9. My employee opened a claim earlier this year when we laid him off. After a few months we recalled him to work. However, after returning to work, he quit last week to work for another employer. I did not receive another form to request relief from charges. Can I request relief?

An employer is not eligible for relief from charges for benefits paid following a layoff for lack of work. However, if the claimant is reemployed, becomes separated again during the benefit year, and the reason for the subsequent separation is a basis for relief, the employer may qualify for relief from charges for benefits paid after the subsequent separation. In order to be timely, the request must be filed within 15 days after the department issues the earliest notice that the claimant has filed for benefits.
 
You will not receive a new Form UC-44FR each time a claimant is separated from your employment or another employer during the benefit year. If you have the Form UC-44FR that you received with the claimant’s Notice of Financial Determination, you may complete the form and return it to the department to request relief. If you no longer have Form UC-44FR, you may request relief from charges by mailing or faxing a letter to the address indicated above.

10. Can I request relief from charges if I lay off an employee for lack of work?

A layoff for lack of work is not a type of separation that qualifies an employer to receive relief from charges.

11. Will my account be charged for a temporary or intermittent furlough due to lack of work?

Yes. The duration of a claimant’s unemployment is not a factor affecting benefit charges.

12. I was already relieved from charges on a prior claim. Why do I have to file for relief from charges when the claimant files a new Application for Benefits?

Relief from charges does not carry over from claim to claim.

13. The claimant is working for me part time. Can I request relief from charges?

If the claimant worked part time for you prior to filing an Application for Benefits and continues to work for you during the benefit year without material change, you may qualify for relief from charges. Material change is defined as a substantial reduction in wages or in the number of hours or days ordinarily worked. However, if the part-time employer is the only employer in the base year, relief from charges cannot be approved.

14. Why is my employee collecting UC benefits if I have been granted relief from charges? Who is paying for the benefits?

In some cases, the type of separation that allows an employer to receive relief from charges would disqualify a claimant from receiving benefits, such as a separation for willful misconduct. The Law, however, provides that an individual can overcome a disqualifying separation by securing a new job and earning six times his or her UC weekly benefit rate. If the individual is separated from the new job after earning that amount and under circumstances that are not disqualifying, the individual may be eligible for benefits and the first employer may be eligible for relief from charges. In other cases, a claimant may be unemployed for a reason that both allows the claimant to receive benefits and qualifies the employer to receive relief from charges. For example, if a claimant voluntarily left employment for a necessitous and compelling reason, but that reason is not attributable to his or her employment, the claimant may be eligible for compensation and the employer may qualify for relief from charges.
 
UC benefits that are not charged to a particular contributory employer are used in the calculation of the state adjustment factor, which is one of the three factors in an employer’s experience-based contribution rate. Non-charged benefits also affect the additional contributions and surcharge that are paid by contributory employers when the UC Fund balance declines. All employers share the cost of non-charged benefits through the state adjustment factor, additional contributions and surcharge.
 
Benefits that are not charged to a particular reimbursable employer are funded through the solvency fee that reimbursable employers pay in order to be eligible for relief from charges.

15. Why is it taking so long for my relief from charges to be processed?

If the separation that is the basis for your relief from charges request is also the separation that governs the claimant’s eligibility for benefits, the relief determination must await the outcome of the eligibility determination and must be consistent with the eligibility determination. The request for relief cannot be processed until the eligibility determination has been issued and has become final.
 
If the separation has no bearing on the claimant’s eligibility for benefits, a delay may occur if more information is needed to make a determination on the request for relief. Providing all relevant information at the time you submit your request for relief may prevent a delay.
 
If you have questions about processing relief from charges requests, e-mail your question to us at UIEMPCHARGE@pa.gov. Include your employer account number, the claimant’s full name and the last four digits of the claimant’s social security number. We will respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible.

16. What happens if I am approved for relief from charges?

When you are granted relief from charges, the department will remove charges that are included in the relief determination but were applied to your account before the relief determination was issued. No further charges will be applied to your account for benefits paid on this application for benefits, unless the relief terminates during the claimant’s benefit year. For example, if you are granted relief from charges because the claimant continues to work for you part time after being separated from another employer, but during the benefit year you reduce the claimant’s work hours, you no longer qualify for relief.
 
If you are granted relief from charges on the basis of a claimant’s separation from your employ, and you reemploy the claimant, you must notify the department within 15 days.

17. What happens if I am denied relief from charges?

The UC Law provides employers the right to appeal relief from charge determinations. Instructions for filing an appeal are located on the reverse of the determination.
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