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Updated Eligibility and Benefits for Unemployment

Federal CARES ActGovernor Tom Wolf announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is implementing new federal unemployment compensation benefits provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The COVID-19 relief package temporarily provides an additional $600 per week, makes self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers eligible for benefits and extends unemployment compensation (UC) benefits for an additional 13 weeks.

The federal benefits are in addition to Pennsylvania’s regular unemployment benefit, which is about half of a person’s full-time weekly income up to $572 per week for 26 weeks.

As part of the CARES Act, unemployment benefits are being expanded to provide an additional $600 per week beginning the week ending April 4, 2020, through the week ending July 25, 2020. This temporary emergency increase in benefits is referred to as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.

Last week, L&I issued the first $600 payments. All eligible claimants that filed biweekly claims for the week ending April 4 and who received their regular UC payment should expect to see the additional money either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. For other eligible claimants who have not yet received a regular UC payment, they will receive the extra $600 the week after receiving their first UC payment.

It is very important to note that anyone who currently has federal withholding tax taken out of their benefits will see the same 10% reduction in the FPUC payment, resulting in a $540 payment. For information about changing your withholding election, visit L&I’s Taxes on Benefits page.

The $600 is paid separately from the biweekly UC benefit, and residents do not need to apply. 

Essential Court Functions for Aging Adults 

ManAs Pennsylvanians follow the Governor’s stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 emergency, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Office of Elder Justice in the Courts remind older adults and their families that essential court functions and legal assistance remain available.

While courts have generally been ordered closed to the public through April 30, there are essential court functions that are still being conducted. These essential functions include:

  • Temporary protection from abuse actions;
  • Civil mental health reviews;
  • Guardianship defense and representation;
  • Any pleadings or motions relating to public health concerns and involving immediate and irreparable harm;
  • Emergency petitions related to protection of abused or neglected children; and
  • Any other function deemed by a president judge to be essential and consistent with constitutional requirements.

Senior-serving organizations available to help with legal assistance during this crisis include: 

  • Pennsylvania SeniorLAW HelpLine: 877-PA SR LAW (877-727-7529)
  • Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE):  800-356-3606
  • PA Pennsylvania Law Help: Help Line 800-274-3258¬†or www.palawhelp.org

Resources for Memory Loss Patients

There are 400,000 Pennsylvanians currently living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and they face additional hardships during this time of uncertainty. Listed below are two of the resources available through the Alzheimer’s Association for anyone impacted by this disease.

Facebook Live Q & A

Facebook

As we navigate this health crisis together, I want to be as accessible as possible for your questions. Every Friday at 12pm, I will be live on Facebook to chat about what the state is doing to combat COVID-19. Join me! 

Facebook/Twitter Facebook Twitter Instagram Stay Connected

If you haven’t visited my Facebook page, join the conversation by ‘liking’ the page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Plenty of information is available on these pages about community events and issues affecting our friends and neighbors.  If you have questions or concerns, send me a direct message or post your thoughts.

Offices to Serve You

  Forest Hills
1501 Ardmore Blvd. | Suite 403
Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Phone: (412) 241-6690
Fax: (412) 731-2332
Monday–Friday:
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Carrick
2306 Brownsville Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15210
Phone: (412) 884-8308
Fax: (412) 886-2080
Monday–Friday:
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Homestead
314 E. Eighth Ave.
Homestead, PA 15120
Phone: (412) 462-4204
Fax: (412) 462-4543
Monday–Friday:
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203043
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: (717) 787-7683
Fax: (717) 783-5976
Monday–Friday:
8:30 am – 5:00 pm