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  • UC question Pennsylvania

    Hello,

    I am currently on uemployment compensation in PA. I have a potential opportunity which pays much lower than my last job, but I would like to be working. My question is, if my wages are low enough, do I still qualify for partial benefits even if I am working full time?

    The UC website lays out neatly the payout schedule for the partial benefit credit but it specificly says if you work less than full time. It is unclear to me if the law judges this on the amount of hours worked or the compensation received. In this case I would go from a 560$ weekly benefit full rate to full time work for 480$ / week. If I am legally entitled to the partial benefit credit (224$) even if working full time I would still recieve 304$/ week in benefits for a total of 784$, couple that with having a job and some dignity, well worth working for. However, it is hard enough to manage on unemployment, let alone 80$/ week less for working if I am not entitled, which begs a second question -

    Would the extremely low compensation make the position , if offered, not meet the criteria of "suitable work" under UC? That is, if I were offered the job for 12$/hr and turned it down (I made nearly $60k last year) could I lose my benefits?


    Thank you and I apologize if I was too lengthy.
    Last edited by gbp73; 01-03-2011, 03:58 PM. Reason: typos

  • #2
    Sorry, no. I had a similar situation last year and, as long as you are working 40 hours per week, the earnings are irrelevant.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you , Patty. Can you comment as to the second question ... if I were offered this job and rejected it, would I be "turning down suitable work" per the UC guidelines?

      Sheesh, talk about another disincentive to work - something told me this would be the case though.

      *edit* Another hypothetical comes to mind as well - would it make the difference if the employer decided to offer me only 39 hrs per week, or some other limited amount of hours?
      Last edited by gbp73; 01-03-2011, 04:26 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm not sure an hour would make a difference, especially if the state decided that you worked the "deal" in order to get around this limitation.

        Generally speaking, a job in your line of work that pays less than unemployment would not be considered "suitable", but if you get a judge or adjudicator who got up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, he may come back with the opposite opinion.

        Unfortunately, states, including PA, have not published for the public what they consider "suitable".
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Nothing like limiting acsess to information to keep power consolidated eh?

          Well thanks again for the responses Patty.

          I hope I didn't come off as someone trying to "work the deal" I truly just want to be productively at work, even if it's temporary while I look. I simply can't afford to punish my family financially with my personal pride.

          Comment


          • #6
            Unfortunately, states, including PA, have not published for the public what they consider "suitable".
            I haven't read all 50 states UI codes... but you'd have to think it would be nearly impossible to state specifically what "suitable employment" would be across the board.

            There are too many variables. IE, in WC, 'suitable employment' would have to be based on any permanent restrictions you may have based on the PD of a industrial injury.

            In the scenario here... the EE would be permitted to refuse the job being discussed due to the amount of wage differential, as not being "suitable".
            A office manager would surely be permitted to reject a job of "sanitary maintaince" worker as "unsuitable'' due generally to the job description. Even if the wage was the same.

            Point is... again, too many variables in any give situation. Each EE would be addressed on a case by case basis.

            Surely however, you'd think someone could come up with a general description/definition of what "suitable" means... I'd hate to have that adjudicator who had a bad case of "ice cube poisioning'' making the decision.

            Comment


            • #7
              I guess it seems inevitable that someone must hold the responsibility to "judge" something so broad. Still, as you said, it would seem practical to at least have guidelines or criteria.

              If it were left to me the office manager in your scenario would be SOL. In my estimation, even if you don't know how to do something, if you lay your cards on the table and someone offers you the opportunity at a fair wage you accept it rather than charity. Pick and chose when you you have that luxury. There's no shame in sweating or getting dirty but there's abundant shame in letting the system take care of you when you have options.

              Thanks alot for your interest in my thread.

              Comment


              • #8
                I hope you're not implying that unemployment insurance or food stamps are "charity".
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There's no shame in sweating or getting dirty but there's abundant shame in letting the system take care of you when you have options.
                  I guess I'm with Patty on this one... I'm curious what your definition of "charity" is... there are benefit programs in place to protect those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, there are programs in place that pay benefits for industrial, as well as non industrial injury/illness in many states. (WC in all states, to some degree or other)

                  Some of these programs are paid by the employER, ie. WC, UI, and/or other benefit packages... STD/LTD come to mind in some cases. Some costs are paid by the employEE...ie. in PA a small contribution is made by EE, FICA/Medicare is funded by EE contribution. STD/LTD may be paid partially or in whole by the EE.

                  These programs are not "charity"... but "insurance policies" used to mitigate your financial exposure, exactly the same as your auto liability, homeowner/renter policy, health coverage etc.

                  Naturally there are those who would abuse the systems...and those are the cases you hear about. Out of the probably millions of claims filed each year in the various programs out there, it's a very small percentage of claims where the parties have "other options".

                  From your first post...
                  I am currently on uemployment compensation in PA. I have a potential opportunity which pays much lower than my last job, but I would like to be working. My question is, if my wages are low enough, do I still qualify for partial benefits even if I am working full time?
                  As with any benefit program, all you can do is file and certify you eligibility based on the information you have at the time. If PA provides for partial payment of UI, the state will make the decision, and you'll know before we do...

                  Good luck to you...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just to pre disclaim myself : I am grateful for the responses and am very interested in the dialogue. It is certainly not my intention to slight anyone or flame. Any debate I offer is in a completely good natured tone.

                    I suppose I do think of programs like those as charity in some sense, but not with any unspoken negative spin. It is the charity of society to the individual that is subject to misfortune. And I do believe it is our duty as a society to provide for those unfortunates.

                    While I would agree that the most wanton of wholesale abuse of these programs is a rarity I believe marginal small card abuse is absolutely the norm. I have witnessed it first hand COUNTLESS times. The situations vary from people trying to get cash by misuse of foodstamp benefits to people on unemployment benefits not looking for work and taking nice vacations while on benefits. There is shame in that abuse. You weren't "entitled" to have society help you as in those cases you weren't dealing honestly or doing your level best to provide for yourself, instead letting society do it for you.I would go as far to say none of us are ever "entitled" to have others pay our way regardless of our misfortune, rather we as a society have decided there are cases where it is the only right thing to do and we have started and funded these programs as a means to empower our society to do so. That , in my mind , is charity and it speaks well of a society that goes to such length to provide it.

                    I find it to be somewhat ironic that you would have issue with this while at the same time, in this and many other threads, you have made it a point to remind us that the employer pays the lionshare of unemployment insurance.While you may simply be passing on the information it can certainly read as these are things given to us all and subsidized solely by the benevolence of employers. Having experience as an employer I can definitely tell you this little but nuance. When filling a position I would decide what I could pay to have the work done (what I would make off it less my acceptable margin), deduct my costs, and thus arrive at the salary an employee in that position would be offered. My unemployment insurance expenses (as well as my share of SSI, etc.) were coming DIRECTLY out of the employee's earning potential, so , in that regard the employee IS paying for the benefit (or more specificly not being paid for the cost of the benefit), albeit the cost is masked.

                    Sorry if we are steering off topic, but my question was thoroughly answered and I find the dialogue stimulating.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Your most recent post contains the assumption that if unemployment was not mandated by the employer that the hourly rate for the employee would increase. Unless this is true then the employee is not paying for unemployment.

                      I find this recent post interesting because you state people who take advantage of the unemployment system by not looking for work. Yet you are fine with not accepting a position which makes less than what you deem acceptable. To me, that is not that different from not looking for work.

                      You should also consider the future ramifications of turning down the positon. Eventually unemployment will end. Are you prepared to turn down the current position in hopes something better comes along before unemployment runs out?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        HRinMA,

                        1. I am not assuming that if unemployment were not manditory that wages would increase. That is a backward logic. Most employers in that scenario would not increase the employee's wage especailly if the employee didn't approach them posing that the loss of UI was essentially a reduction in their compensation. The key point is, wages won't necessarily be increased if it is eliminated, but certainly new hires will receive more if the costs don't exist.

                        My argument is based on people, especailly employers, will work with what they have. Hiring was for me exactly like buying new equipment. I would decide what I could budget for the item then buy the best I could for that amount. In the case of an employers associated costs fpr an employee (UI, SSI, more space at the office etc.) are one more line item on the sticker price, not the bottom line.

                        2. As to your second point, where are you reading that I am turning down any position? I have not , in fact have been offered it as of yet. I am presuming my chances are good but I am also certain the employer in this case would want me to think of his offer as an improvement on my lot, not a burden. We already have a tacit understanding I would be doing it temporarily while looking for other work. The prospective employer is aware of the concept of good relationships need to be win-win and I don't believe he would even offer me the position if he felt it would do me financial harm, which is in part why I came here looking for the answer to my questions. If I wanted to take advantage I would kick back until I found something that pays every red cent of what my salary requirements are but at the end of the day , in this market I am sure I will be compromising on that. Like they say- "Hate the game, don't hate the player."

                        3. As to the answer to your last question - I am CERTAIN with my skills and work ethic something better will come along before then. I do not however believe it is likely to happen before late spring as my industry tends not to have alot of hiring from Nov- May even in a good economy. Even if it didn't I am even more certain I could find work quickly if I am willing to do it for about 1/3 my current salary requirements. As much as I feel compelled to work for my living, doing it for what totals to be less than my unemployment benefit breaks an even more important personal code - it diminishes my family's savings and ultimately leads them to debt.
                        Last edited by gbp73; 01-06-2011, 02:58 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I suppose I do think of programs like those as charity in some sense, but not with any unspoken negative spin. It is the charity of society to the individual that is subject to misfortune. And I do believe it is our duty as a society to provide for those unfortunates
                          Nothing a person pays for, or the employer pays for, is ever 'charity'. The benefits paid are in fact 'entitlements'. Whether SSA/SSDI, WC, UI or STD/LTD...none are charity.

                          Charity is those dollars you hand out the car window to a homeless person, the contributions you make to flood victims, to the Haiti funds, to the ASPCA is charity.

                          As to your UI benefits/entitlement... just file your application, certify for the weeks you are eligible and the state will make the decision. That' the process. You may or may not be eligible for partial UI compensation, that's based on your wages.

                          Good luck to you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree: I paid into UI for years and if my job ever goes away, I am entitled to collect UI and it is not like receiving charity.

                            However, I do see the point that it seems like charity when the federal government keeps extending unemployment benefits ad infinitum. At some point, it really does become a handout. Just my opinion, but a valid one that many share.

                            Comment

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