NBI SEMINAR MATERIALS: Key Information to Present Regarding the Initial Claim
I had the great opportunity to lead (perhaps “teach”) a continuing legal education seminar hosted by the National Business Institute. The subject was “Human Resource Law From A to Z” and I had opportunity to speak on Unemployment Compensation. I was joined by other capable attorneys who each had their own topics to present.
Although NBI published the materials, I retain the ownership of the portions I wrote, which I will post here in this blog.
Copied below are the materials I wrote for the section entitled “Key Information to Present Regarding the Initial Claim.”
Key Information to Present Regarding the Initial Claim
The information provided when making an initial claim ranges from very basic information about one’s employment to the causes of one’s termination from employment.
Nowadays the initial claim is typically done via the Department of Labor’s website, which can be found here: https://www.uc.pa.gov/unemployment-benefits/file/Pages/File%20an%20Initial%20Claim.aspx
Aside from the website, there are other options to apply for benefits:
- By telephone: statewide toll-free number at 1-888-313-7284 (open call hours are 8a.m. – 4p.m. Monday & Tuesday, 12p.m. – 6p.m. Wednesday, 8a.m. – 4p.m. Thursday and Friday from 8a.m. – 12p.m.);
- Services for the deaf and hard of hearing:
- TTY: 1-888-334-4046;
- Videophone: 717-704-8474 every Wednesday from noon to 4p.m.;
- Paper Form: a paper application can be downloaded and mailed to the address indicated on the form.
It is likely obvious, but the basics about one’s employment to include on an initial claim are as follows:
- one’s dates of employ (first day of work, last day of work, and final day on payroll);
- one’s rate of pay on the last day of work;
- the name, address, and telephone number of oneself and one’s employer;
- one’s social security number;
- one’s email address;
- pension or severance package information;
- one’s bank account for the deposit of the benefits (optional);
- one’s own personal identification number (if there has been a prior filing) and the employer’s account number (if known);
- the cause of separation.
Describing one’s cause of separation is critical as certain causes of separation can render one ineligible for benefits (as described above). As a result, a claimant must be judicious and precise when describing the cause of termination. Unfortunately, the application only gives a few options (in a pull down menu if applying online) and these options are often overbroad, imprecise, and/or give the wrong impression as to the actual cause of separation. One may offer an explanatory statement, but claimants often have insufficient space and write without consideration of legal consequences or precision. Due to the limitations of the application process – and the difficultly claimants have in fully explaining the cause of their termination – it is not uncommon to be denied an initial claim.