Unemployment Extension in Pennsylvania


“How can I extend unemployment in Pennsylvania when my benefits run out?” is a question that needs to be answered before unemployment applicants request additional funding. The process for how to get an unemployment extension is similar for every state, but it is a process that is not available all the time. Those interested in federal unemployment extensions must first review if the state is currently dispensing extra benefits. Below is more information on unemployment compensation extensions in Pennsylvania, including:

  • When Activation of Unemployment Extensions Occurs in Pennsylvania
  • Federal Unemployment Extension Assistance in Pennsylvania
  • EB Unemployment Compensation Extensions Offered in Pennsylvania
  • Unemployment Benefits Extension Qualifications for Pennsylvania Residents
  • How Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefits Extensions Are Processed
When Activation of Unemployment Extensions Occurs in Pennsylvania

Unemployment beneficiaries who are wondering “What can I do to extend unemployment?” should be aware that they may not be able to do anything. Depending on the economic state of Pennsylvania and the country at the time that beneficiaries receive their benefits, federal unemployment extensions may be completely unavailable. Beneficiaries who are unsure of whether extensions are being offered at the time should check with the Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation to see if programs are available at the time of their applications for benefits. To review information on how to determine if the state is distributing extension benefits to recipients, download our free guide.

There are two separate unemployment extensions that can potentially become available in Pennsylvania. One is a federal unemployment extension, and the other is referred to as a Federal-State Extended Duration Program, also known as FED-ED; although, many states just refer to this as “Extended Benefits,” or EB. Neither FED-ED unemployment benefits extension programs nor state-level EB programs can be activated unless percentages of unemployed people reach high numbers. Most of the time, unemployment extension is not offered, because unemployment rates in each state are comparatively low.

Federal Unemployment Extension Assistance in Pennsylvania

Federal unemployment extensions are provided through legislature which is only passed in times of extreme need. FED-ED programs are constantly changing in both type and name as new legislation is enacted. As of 2017, the last FED-ED program to be offered was called Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). It ran from 2008 to 2013, although it underwent several changes during that five-year time period.

If the EUC program, or another FED-ED program is enacted again, unemployment benefits extension is likely to be distributed in a similar way to that of the EUC program that ran from 2008 to 2013, which had a distribution system based on four tiers of benefits. Each tier provided benefits for a different number of weeks from a minimum of four weeks to a maximum of 20 weeks. Unemployment beneficiaries qualified for certain tiers of assistance based on their specific circumstances, including how much money they earned at the job they lost. However, any new unemployment benefits extension program created by the federal government is subject to changes according to the current conditions at the time of enactment.

EB Unemployment Compensation Extensions Offered in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s EB unemployment extension program is only activated by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry when unemployment conditions reach a specified point under Pennsylvania’s UC Law. The UC Law dictates how unemployment benefits are distributed in Pennsylvania, and is unique to the state. Other states have their own forms of unemployment legislation.

When the EB unemployment benefits extension program was last activated in Pennsylvania, unemployment beneficiaries who qualified for the extension were able to collect additional benefits of up to 80 percent of their initial claims, or 20 additional weeks of benefits. The lowest of those two amounts was received by each qualifying unemployment insurance claimant. However, the program is always subject to change when it is active.

Unemployment Benefits Extension Qualifications for Pennsylvania Residents

Even when unemployment compensation extension programs are active, not every Pennsylvania unemployment beneficiary will receive an extension of benefits. In order to qualify for an unemployment extension during times of activation, the unemployment beneficiary must meet whatever rules Pennsylvania has at the time regarding financial status and work search status. For example, any qualifying unemployment beneficiary must meet basic eligibility requirements, like still attending any required work search classes and maintaining his or her work search log in order to keep receiving extended benefits. Unemployment beneficiaries who meet the initial qualifications for unemployment benefits extensions will receive notices in the mail informing them of their eligibility for extended unemployment assistance.

How Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefits Extensions Are Processed

Unemployment benefits extension forms in Pennsylvania are generally processed automatically. There is typically nothing that the unemployment beneficiary has to do in order to receive the form; it will just arrive in the mail. However, it is up to the unemployment beneficiary to fill out and return the form in a timely manner. Unemployment beneficiaries who think that they are eligible for unemployment compensation extensions, and do not receive extension forms automatically, should call the Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation when they have two weeks of initial benefits remaining to check on their statuses. The OUC can verify or deny unemployment extension eligibility for each unemployment claimant. Download our guide to review instructions on how to contact the OUC.