Unemployment Compensation / Base Year

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Figuring Your Base Year

Your base year is generally the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the date that you apply for benefits. The amount of money you were paid by all employers covered by unemployment law during your base year determines whether you qualify for benefits and what amount you will receive. Please consult the following chart to determine your base year.

Figuring Your Weekly Benefit Rate

Complete the following steps while consulting the chart above to compute your weekly benefit rate.

  1. Once you have determined your base year, the next step is to determine the total gross wages you received during your base year period and how much you received during each calendar quarter in the base year. A calendar quarter is a three month period. Be careful to use gross wages (not take-home pay) and assign your wages to the correct quarter.
  2. After you determine how much you were paid in each quarter, find the quarter in which you were paid the most money. The wages in this quarter are your “highest quarterly wages”. Refer to the chart below (full chart available here: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1050899&mode=2) and look at the column headed Part A, “Highest Quarterly Wage” and find your highest wages. On the same line, look at the dollar amount in Part C, “Qualifying Wage.” If your total base year wages are as much as or more than the dollar amount listed in this column, then your weekly benefit rate is the amount listed in Part B, “Rate of Compensation.”
  3. If your total base year wages are less than the amount listed in the “Qualifying Wages” column, you are financially ineligible for benefits.

Sample of Benefit Chart:

Part AHighest Quarterly WagePart BRate of CompensationPart CQualifying Wages
4388 – 44121788737
4413 – 44371798787
4438 – 44621808836
4463 – 44871818886
4488 – 45121828935
4513 – 45371838985
4538 – 45621849034
4563 – 45871859084
4588 – 46121869133
4613 – 46371879183
4638 – 46621889232
4663 – 46871899282
4688 – 47121909331

Next: Other considerations

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