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Out Of Work Because Of Coronavirus? You May Qualify For PA Unemployment Benefits

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Megan Harris
/
90.5 WESA

The head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry said people may be eligible for assistance if an employer cuts hours, shuts down or goes out of business, or if people have to isolate to prevent spread of the disease.  The news came a few hours before Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-essential businesses to close

Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said in a news release, “it is important to relieve some of the financial pressures our workers are facing so they can focus on remaining healthy and safe.”

He noted the best option is for employers to offer paid time off, but that may not be an option extended to many Pennsylvanians.

The state’s announcement does not guarantee benefits; all applications will go through an adjudication process with the Office of Unemployment Compensation.

If people think they have been exposed to coronavirus at work, they can file for workers’ compensation benefits.  

For faster processing, people are encouraged to file online. A checklist of required information can be found here.  

If approved, the first benefit payment should arrive within four weeks. Even while waiting for approval a claim can be filed every two weeks. If a workers’ compensation claim is denied, that decision can be appealed through the Workers' Compensation Office of Adjudication.

Margaret J. Krauss is WESA’s senior reporter. She covers development and transportation, and has produced award-winning podcasts on housing, work, and Pittsburgh’s lesser-known history. Before joining the newsroom full time, she covered the challenges facing Pennsylvania cities as a statewide reporter, and spent another life as an assistant editor for National Geographic Kids Magazine in Washington, D.C. She can be reached at mkrauss@wesa.fm.
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