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UI question PA

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#1
I lost my job in PA two weeks ago after working there for six months and filed for unemployment. I was denied because I didn't earn enough within my base year (July 2017 to June 2018). I began this job in April 2018.

Prior to this I collected ui benefits in NJ from January 2018 to March 2018 after being laid off from a job where I was employed (also in NJ) from July 2017 to January 2018.

Will the income I received from NJ Benefits and my previous job in NJ count as earnings for my current base year in PA?
 


#2
It is pretty useless for you to ask this on the internet before asking the people who might possibly be able to answer you accurately, as we have no way of pulling up and combining wages in the appropriate quarters in the appropriate states. However, it sounds as though what you have received is your initial financial determination of eligibility. There will be somewhere on this form which says who to call and how to appeal if you do not believe this information is correct, for example, if as it is very likely, the quarters are not showing up with New Jersey wages there. You should ask them to look at these wages andreconsider your eligibility based on monetary issues. (Later, they'll deal with separation issues, but no monetary eligibility =no claim.)

When you filed the claim, hopefully, you gave the system the full details of your employment in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania. When you were told that you did not have enough PA wages to set up a claim, you will need to appeal this decision, mentioning the wages from New Jersey that you made from July of 2017 until January of 2018. Whether that will be enough to set you up any kind of claim by pulling in and combining the wages is for the system to say.
 
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#3
I cannot get past the busy signal for PA UI office. Waiting for several lawyers to contact me back. There was nowhere on the claim forms to explain the situation. Yes, I did immediately appeal after my PA employer finally emailed me my pay stubs. My question doesn't have to do anything with the amount of wages. Will PA accept wages earned within the base period if they were from another state? Are only wages earned in PA eligible?
 
#4
Quote: "Waiting for several lawyers to contact me back"

It would be incredibly silly for you to contact a lawyer, who would have as very little likelihood of being able to answer a specific question about your PA unemployment insurance as it would be for anyone on the street or the internet. If you cannot get past the busy signal, it means that someone, somewhere, is on the phone with the PA system. Eventually it will be you. It may take a while, but it does happen. Start calling early, as soon as the office opens for the day, expect a wait of sometimes an hour or two, but really, dismissing that you can't get an answer and so you're going to lawyer up...well, that's pretty futile.

It is a time of particularly low unemployment in most states, so persistent effort to call in over several days, begun early, is probably going to work for you. There is no way that that attorney you're waiting for is going to be able to put you at the front of the line. Most unemployment insurance claims aren't for enough money to make hiring an attorney worth your while, and it doesn't help the process or begin moving into civil court until you have gone through the full agency application and appeals process, which are designed so that having an attorney doesn't really give you a lot of help, and it is not something you have to "fight" for, like they talk about on those late night lawyer commercials. This is an agency, it is NOT a court case, you don't have to sue anybody to be approved or to receive benefits, and it is not something you have to go in fighting about. The system is set up not to be tilted in the favor of either the employers who pay in most of the tax money for unemployment or the claimants, who do, in PA, pay in a tiny bit of it. But the situation you describe, where you have wages in more than one state during the base period, is very common. They deal with it all the time in every state.

The answer you seek is yes, PA will "accept" as you put it, NJ wages from a covered NJ employer, their system has the capability to send for and pull in these wages in the appropriate quarters from the New Jersey system. This will set up what is called a combined wage claim. Since your last separating employer is in PA, and you now reside in PA, you will very likely have a PA claim with your adjudication of all other issues, such as separation issues, WBA amounts, etc. coming from PA. IF you have not enough wages in PA, and you do have enough wages in New Jersey for a full claim, you might end up with a New Jersey unemployment claim which you get to draw out in PA.

The reason amounts earned are an issue is that there must be, according to each state's specific formula, enough covered (tax paying employer) wages in the specific quarters to set up a claim. Some states require that there be wages in two or more quarters in order to set up their state's claim, or that there be a certain amount in each quarter, etc. But the system is not out to keep you from getting any claim you might be entitled to set up for, they will, when you get through to them, probably be quite helpful in suggesting how to file the "combined wage" or other state's claim that you very well may have. They are not your enemy, and you do not need to go in with an adversarial approach.
 
#5
Quote: "Waiting for several lawyers to contact me back"

It would be incredibly silly for you to contact a lawyer, who would have as very little likelihood of being able to answer a specific question about your PA unemployment insurance as it would be for anyone on the street or the internet. If you cannot get past the busy signal, it means that someone, somewhere, is on the phone with the PA system. Eventually it will be you. It may take a while, but it does happen. Start calling early, as soon as the office opens for the day, expect a wait of sometimes an hour or two, but really, dismissing that you can't get an answer and so you're going to lawyer up...well, that's pretty futile.

It is a time of particularly low unemployment in most states, so persistent effort to call in over several days, begun early, is probably going to work for you. There is no way that that attorney you're waiting for is going to be able to put you at the front of the line. Most unemployment insurance claims aren't for enough money to make hiring an attorney worth your while, and it doesn't help the process or begin moving into civil court until you have gone through the full agency application and appeals process, which are designed so that having an attorney doesn't really give you a lot of help, and it is not something you have to "fight" for, like they talk about on those late night lawyer commercials. This is an agency, it is NOT a court case, you don't have to sue anybody to be approved or to receive benefits, and it is not something you have to go in fighting about. The system is set up not to be tilted in the favor of either the employers who pay in most of the tax money for unemployment or the claimants, who do, in PA, pay in a tiny bit of it. But the situation you describe, where you have wages in more than one state during the base period, is very common. They deal with it all the time in every state.

The answer you seek is yes, PA will "accept" as you put it, NJ wages from a covered NJ employer, their system has the capability to send for and pull in these wages in the appropriate quarters from the New Jersey system. This will set up what is called a combined wage claim. Since your last separating employer is in PA, and you now reside in PA, you will very likely have a PA claim with your adjudication of all other issues, such as separation issues, WBA amounts, etc. coming from PA. IF you have not enough wages in PA, and you do have enough wages in New Jersey for a full claim, you might end up with a New Jersey unemployment claim which you get to draw out in PA.

The reason amounts earned are an issue is that there must be, according to each state's specific formula, enough covered (tax paying employer) wages in the specific quarters to set up a claim. Some states require that there be wages in two or more quarters in order to set up their state's claim, or that there be a certain amount in each quarter, etc. But the system is not out to keep you from getting any claim you might be entitled to set up for, they will, when you get through to them, probably be quite helpful in suggesting how to file the "combined wage" or other state's claim that you very well may have. They are not your enemy, and you do not need to go in with an adversarial approach.
Thank you for your helpful response! I am most certainly not hiring an attorney for this matter, I requested free consultations. I've spent the last hour and 40 minutes hanging up and calling back a few minutes later. I still live in NJ and commuted into Philadelphia with my last employer. I absolutely earned enough wages to qualify:

NJ Employer:
- July 2017 to September 2017 = $2000/MO x 3 = $6000
- October 2017 to December 2017 = $2000/MO x 3 = $6000

NJ Unemployment:
- January 2018 to March 2018 = $720/MO x 3 = $2160

PA Employer:
- April 2018 to July 2018 = $1,920/MO x 3 = $5,670

I apologize if I came off as adversarial. My ultimate goal is to make sure that I have every single document that I need (pay stubs, termination letters, tax returns, etc) ready in case PA UI needs anything additional. And praying that it won't be contested once I'm determined to be eligible.

Thanks again!
 
#6
Well, you have everything from the sound of it. You need to speak directly to someone who will have all the wage records for PA and will be able to get the ones from New Jersey easily. It sounds as though that will happen.

But concerning getting through on the lines, what we first told people when we began the telephone system is imagine that you are standing in line, just like you were at an office filing in person, except that you are holding the telephone. By the way, do not hang up when you get a busy signal, hold that line, as long as you can, even up to an hour or two. We once held the line for four hours to file a friend's claim. It eventually worked, though! Live person on the phone. As I said, the unemployment rate is down, not so many calls coming in as were back in the 2008-09 recession.

After you are determined to be monetarily eligible, then the issue of your separation from work will come into play. It has everything to do with your being out of work through no fault of your own, and able, available and actively seeking other work. Even if it's "not contested" the employer is not the only one who decides whether or not you are approved to draw benefits. If you quit your job for something not interpreted to be a valid reason, or if you are terminated for a valid cause, whether or not the employer contests the claim isn't going to be the real decision factor. But all that is contingent on your being in touch with someone in the claims department and getting yourself a monetary eligible combined wage claim going.

As I've said before, the chances of an attorney knowing a lot about unemployment insurance isn't great. Don't pay any of them anything, there's no way they could possibly claim expertise in the field (like someone who has worked with the system for many years, like me) and there's not a lot they could do but read and interpret the statutes, which you yourself are able to do.
 
#7
Thank you for your guidance. I actually just finished a consultation with an attorney (free) who told me pretty much the same thing. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me, you helped put my mind at ease. Who knows, this could be a sign from the universe that it’s time for me to consider a career change into the law profession
 
#8
Prior to this I collected ui benefits in NJ from January 2018 to March 2018
Did you exhaust your NJ claim? It looks like you only used up about 3 months of a standard 26-week claim.

You need to immediately REfile and REopen the NJ claim so that you collect the potential remaining 3 months of benefits before they expire in Jan, 2019. Try to get back dating. I hate to think how many weeks elapsed waiting for PA to tell you, "no." You can use your denial letter from PA to give NJ what it needs to excuse that you applied in the wrong state first.

Then after you exhaust the NJ claim or it expires whichever comes first, the quarters will have shifted, and then most likely you can get your PA UI claim.

You have no idea how lucky you are to have been turned down. You might be able to collect 9 months of UI in a back-to-back claim situation out of two states.

Thought about this some more.

You can finish out the NJ claim for 3 months.
Most likely you earned and worked enough in PA, to get a 2ND-year claim out of NJ using the lag wages of about $8120 to get something more out of NJ
Then even if you get 26 weeks, the PA wages will still be in your base period.

You can theoretically collect for a maximum of 15 months if you arbitrage your UI between the states and really think it through so you don't go burning up a whole bunch of quarters of wages for not much more weekly benefit in a combined-wage claim.
 
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