CHARLESTON — Nearly 36,000 West Virginians have filed unemployment insurance claims so far in April, WorkForce West Virginia announced on Thursday.
As of April 8, WorkForce had received 35,900 claims for unemployment benefits. Compared to last year, the agency processed 3,905 claims in the entire month of April 2019.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of people out of work, and our hearts go out to every person who’s lost a job these last few weeks,” said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner for WorkForce West Virginia. “I know these are scary times, but folks can be assured that we’re working round the clock with the help of the West Virginia National Guard to process claims and get people the help they need.”
On Tuesday, Gov. Jim Justice and WorkForce announced that West Virginians who are eligible for regular unemployment benefits have started receiving an extra $600 a week, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In the coming week, enhanced benefits will be available to independent contractors and self-employed and gig-economy workers, who normally don’t qualify for regular state unemployment benefits. These benefits are paid retroactively from the time an employee was separated from their job or otherwise became eligible, not from the time the application was submitted or approved.
WorkForce West Virginia Explains CARES Act Benefits
CARES Act benefits are available to workers receiving regular state unemployment insurance benefits, as well as workers who aren’t eligible or have exhausted state unemployment benefits or may not have sufficient work history to qualify for a regular state claim.
The CARES Act provides the following unemployment insurance benefit programs:
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
Provides an additional $600 a week to workers collecting regular state unemployment compensation and to those who are eligible for CARES Act programs, such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
The first week a claimant can be compensated is the week beginning March 29, 2020. The last week will be the week ending July 25, 2020.
An individual who is placed back on payroll full time by an employer who receives a loan under the Pay Check Protection Act is no longer eligible to receive FPUC benefits.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to independent contractors, as well as self-employed, gig-economy and part-time workers who otherwise don’t qualify for regular state unemployment benefits. The 39 weeks includes an additional 13 weeks of benefits in addition to 26 weeks of benefits one normally receives in regular state unemployment compensation.
A claimant can receive compensation beginning Feb. 2, 2020 or the first week they were unable to work due to the coronavirus, whichever date is later. The last week they can be compensated is the week ending Dec. 26, 2020.
These benefits will be paid retroactively as soon as WorkForce West Virginia programs its systems to process these claims.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
Provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to workers who have exhausted regular state benefits or is otherwise not eligible for regular unemployment benefits under state and federal law.
The first week a claimant can be compensated is the week beginning March 29, 2020. The last week will be the week ending Dec. 26, 2020.
Where to File
The fastest way to file for benefits is online at www.workforcewv.org. A step-by-step guide to filing an initial claim may be found by going to Unemployment section of WorkForce’s website and then clicking the Claimants tab. Those who do not have internet access, have a disability requiring assistive technology or need further assistance should call 1-800-252-JOBS.
When to File
It is important to file a new claim immediately after employment ends.
How to File
To file an initial claim, applications need to register as a job seeker at www.workforcewv.org.
After filing an initial claim, a WorkForce West Virginia staff member will contact the applicant by email or by phone. To learn more about filing for unemployment, click here.
For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit coronavirus.wv.gov.
Information provided by WorkForceWV.