Can I Collect Partial Unemployment in Pennsylvania?

The state of Pennsylvania allows you to work while collecting unemployment benefits. It’s called partial unemployment benefits, and you receive a portion of your eligible weekly benefit amount based on the income you earned each week. You must report your earnings to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (PDLI) during your biweekly certification process based on the relevant sources of income according to state law.

Partial Unemployment Eligibility

To qualify as partially unemployed for Pennsylvania unemployment, you must experience a loss of work that causes you to work less than 40 hours per week and earn less than 140 percent of your eligible weekly benefit amount. Your loss of work must be through no fault of your own. You must also be seeking full-time work and accept as many hours as your employer will offer you.

Calculating Partial Benefits

When you’re partially unemployed, the PDLI doesn’t give you total unemployment benefits. Instead it gives you a partial payment based on the amount of money you earn each week. Pennsylvania’s partial benefit credit is 40 percent of your weekly benefit credit, which is the amount of money you can earn each week before it affects your benefits. Everything you earn over that amount is deducted from your weekly benefit amount dollar for dollar, and you receive the rest as your partial payment.


Your priority as a partial unemployment claimant is to report your wages to the PDLI each week. Like the other claimants, you can’t receive payments if you don’t certify for them, but the information you provide during the certification process determines how much the PDLI gives you as payment. Every two week, you call into the claims line or access the claims website to answer questions about your eligibility. Enter the amount you earned in the previous two weeks before any deductions.

What is Income?

Reportable income in Pennsylvania is any money paid to you as an employee, an independent contractor or through self-employment. It also includes any pay you receive for holiday pay or vacation pay during the week in question. You also must report all pensions, retirement or annuity payments in your income. Failure to report earned income can result in denial of benefits and/or criminal prosecution.



About the Author

Michaele Curtis began writing professionally in 2001. As a freelance writer for the Centers for Disease Control, Nationwide Insurance and AT&T Interactive, her work has appeared in "Insurance Today," "Mobiles and PDAs" and "Curve Magazine." Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Louisiana State University.