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PA and maybe MA

by Free
(Philadelphia, PA)


I am currently employed in PA however I will be laid off within the next few weeks. I began working here on August 3, 2009 and I will be employed through the beginning or middle of December. My salary is 50,000.

I am hoping that you can help me determine whether I will be eligible for unemployment benefits in PA given the limited amount of time that I have been employed here. Prior to Aug. 3, I was working in Massachusetts however I was a wage employee on a more temporary basis and I was making about 15.10/hr.

Thank you,

Hi Free,

It's been a couple months since someone has asked a question which forced me to take off my socks .. to count. I think you may actually have a problem in PA, but nonetheless, you probably have qualifying wages in MA .. so you will get benefits even if PA has to act as the agent state for MA. I also think you should consider waiting to apply until after the first of the year.

The reason is fairly straight forward. The quarter you apply in changes your base period which is the 12 month period of wages that determine how much you will get. See the chart at the bottom of this page. (terrible chart).

Weekly benefit amounts are in large part based upon high quarter earnings. PA has this rule about having at least 16 credit weeks too .. which confuses me since a quarter is only 13 weeks??

The standard base period is the first 4 of the last 5 COMPLETED quarters. Which to you means that if you file in Dec. your BP will be July of 08 through June of 09 .. you'll notice none of your PA wages would be included, but if you wait until Jan of 2010 then your BP would be moved forward to include Oct of 08 through Sept of 09. You now have at least 8 weeks of PA wages in your BP if you wait.

The problem I was having understanding your situation was caused by the information PA provides about the 16 credit weeks, and then .. I think that was clarified somewhat when I clicked covered employment and read about the "catch-all clauses under FUTA"

Honestly, do you think they could make it more confusing? Hope it all works out and if I'm wrong .. file in Mass.

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Nov 18, 2009
by: Free

Thank you soooo much for taking the time to try to figure it out and explain it to me! I tried looking at the PA site and had no clue what they were talking about so I am really appreciative for your time. It looks like my layoff is coming at the worst possible time but I will wait until Jan. to file my claim.

You are very welcome.


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