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PA Unemployment -- Normal Circumstances vs. CARES Act/ COVID-19

PA Unemployment -- Normal Circumstances vs. CARES Act

Due to COVID-19, PA unemployment eligibility and benefits have been modified to assist individuals financially during these times of crisis. We have researched the unemployment circumstances before and during this pandemic, referring to the before circumstances as “normal”. We have listed the information regarding the changes in unemployment benefits due to the CARES Act below.


All individuals (including self-employed individuals) can file an initial claim online:


Normal Circumstances

Individuals eligible for unemployment under normal circumstances have been granted a weekly benefit rate of about one-half of their weekly gross wages.



Individuals who apply for unemployment during this COVID-19 crisis, will receive the same weekly benefit rate granted during normal circumstances plus an extra $600 weekly. The extra $600 per week will end on or before July 31, 2020.


Normal Circumstances -- Self-Employed Individuals

Under normal circumstances, self-employed individuals are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits. 


CARES Act -- Self-Employed Individuals

The CARES Act allows self-employed individuals to be eligible for unemployment benefits. The covered time period for these benefits begins on or after January 27, 2020 and ends on or before December 31, 2020. Furthermore, the total number of weeks for which a covered individual may receive assistance will not exceed 39 weeks. 


  • Self-employed individuals’ benefits are based on the schedule C from an individual's personal 2018 tax return. The net income is divided into 52 weeks and multiplied by the number of weeks that are being applied for. A percentage of that number will then be taken, which is what will be granted to the individual. The extra $600 weekly will also be granted to self-employed individuals.

  • S-corporations are able to file as well. However, the benefits are based on wages that are submitted quarterly for PA unemployment.


As information changes or is added, we will closely follow, research, and distribute any knowledge we obtain regarding governmental financial aid. Loan opportunities are also available and are becoming more prevalent, which we will continue to gather more information on to relay in the near future. As always, none of our released information is intended to be spam or political content; we simply just want to use our knowledge to help others in these times of crisis. Additionally, the future information about the small business loans may not directly apply to an individual, but will apply to any fellow business owners, so if this message could be shared, it would be greatly appreciated.