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Can employers block a worker’s claim for unemployment benefits?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2023 | Employment Law

Losing a job can be a major hardship for Pennsylvania workers in just about any profession or family circumstances. Most people don’t have much set aside in savings to take care of themselves when their income suddenly stops, which is why unemployment protections are so important.

Those who suddenly lose their job due to downsizing or minor performance issues can at least count on seeking unemployment benefits while they look for a new job. Such benefits will replace a portion of their lost wages so they can continue to cover their basic cost of living expenses until they find new work.

Few thoughts are more frightening than losing out on the only form of income someone has after an unexpected termination, but many workers fear that their former employers will keep them from getting benefits. Can a former employer intentionally try to prevent someone from getting unemployment benefits?

Employers can respond to any claim

Unemployment benefits can pay up to half of someone’s average weekly wage for up to 26 weeks after an unexpected job loss. Employers make contributions to the state program on behalf of all employees based on what they pay those workers.

To prevent abuses of the unemployment system, Pennsylvania provides notice to employers about claims in addition to rigorously validating every application submitted by a recently unemployed worker. In some scenarios, such as where workers did something in violation of company policy or illegal or when they quit their jobs rather than getting fired, employers can push back on the request for unemployment benefits.

However, even if a worker doesn’t get unemployment as they anticipated because their former employer challenges their claim, they still have the option of appealing. The state can review the situation and may determine that the worker’s situation does justify their benefits claim.

A successful appeal can lead to the benefits someone needs until they find a new job. Sometimes, better communication with an employer can help reduce the likelihood of them challenging a worker’s claim for unemployment after their termination. Learning more about the basics of unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania can help workers who need to obtain benefits after losing a job.