To get unemployment benefits, you need to be financially eligible.
After you apply, to see if you are financially eligible, the government looks at your “base year” to see if:
- you have enough W2 wages; and
- you have at least 18 credit weeks.
A credit week is any calendar week (Sunday through Saturday) in your base year when you earned more than $116.
The government divides up the calendar into 4 quarters. Your base year is determined by which quarter you apply for unemployment benefits in.
You can use the diagram below to figure out what your base year is:
You can read more about financial eligibility on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s website.
Are you a gig worker? You need to report your own wages to the government.
I got a letter that says I'm financially ineligible. What do I do?
The letter should show your W2 wages during your base year. Are there wages missing?
If there are no wages missing, then the letter is correct. You are not financially eligible.
You can reapply for unemployment during the next “quarter” of the year (see the image above to figure out what the next quarter is).
If there are W2 wages missing, file an appeal within the deadline (21 days since the mailing date).
In your appeal, include:
- Your employer’s information
- A description of your earnings (how much you were paid, the time period you were paid for, and how you were paid)
- Any proof of earnings (pay stubs, bank statements, etc.)
My employer paid me in cash or as a 1099 worker, but I'm an employee. My wages are missing from my financial eligibility letter.
Your employer might have misclassified you. If you think this is what happened, you should:
- Appeal the letter within 21 day deadline.
- Provide any proof of your wages/earnings in your appeal.
- Explain why you believe you were an employee.