Why Was I Denied Unemployment Benefits?

If you were denied unemployment compensation, Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry determined that you were not eligible to receive benefits under the law. The PDLI uses specific information from you and your employer to make these determinations.

The PDLI reports that certain employers within the state are required to file unemployment compensation wage and tax reports each quarter. These reports include specific information about you and the company’s other employees, including your Social Security number, gross wages, and credit weeks you earned during the reported time period. Since this information is filed each quarter, the PDLI has a running report of your employment status at any given time. 

When you filed your unemployment claim, you answered questions about your employer, how much money you made in the week prior to filing your claim, and why you left your job or are currently working fewer hours. The department uses this information from your claim along with the data from the four most recent reports filed by your previous employers to determine whether you are legally eligible to receive compensation under the law. 

According to the PDLI, you may have been denied benefits if you did not make enough money in the previous quarters, voluntarily quit, worked the job as a self-employed worker, or if you were guilty of willful misconduct. Willful misconduct includes any actions or inactions that willfully violate rules, disregard standards, and show evil design or an intentional disregard for your employer’s interests. However, some exceptions to these eligibility rules do apply.  For example, if you left for health reasons, to follow a spouse during a compulsory job transfer, or if you have personal reasons outside of your control, you may still qualify to receive unemployment compensation.

You and your former employer are both able to appeal the decision on your unemployment eligibility should you disagree with the department’s conclusion. Eligibility is often complicated and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. This information is for educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice. 

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