Coronavirus rectangle

Courtesy of Commonwealth Media Services

If you work in Pennsylvania and the novel coronavirus has affected your job, you may be eligible for benefits.

The state Department of Labor & Industry announced Monday that workers may qualify for Unemployment Compensation or Workers’ Compensation benefits under certain circumstances.

“As Pennsylvania and the nation implement mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, it is important to relieve financial pressures our workers are facing so they can focus on remaining healthy and safe,” L&I secretary Jerry Oleksiak said in a statement.

The department recommends that UC claims be submitted online for faster processing. L&I said an applicant may be eligible if:

  • The employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19;
  • The employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19;
  • You have been told not to work because the employer believes you might get or spread COVID-19; or
  • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts.

For call center hours and other information, visit All UC benefit requirements can be accessed in the self-service guide or using UC LiveChat.

As for workers’ comp benefits, if an individual believes he or she may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace, that person may be eligible by either asking the employer to file a typical “disease-as-injury” WC claim, which requires medical evidence of exposure; or by requesting the employer to file an “occupational disease” WC claim, which requires showing that COVID-19 is occurring more in your occupation/industry than in the general population.

An applicant whose COVID-19 claim is denied may file a petition with the WC Office of Adjudication.

For more information, the state Department of Health has a dedicated coronavirus webpage that is updated daily.

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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