CHARLESTON — WorkForce West Virginia announced Monday it is awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on the CARES Act unemployment extension provisions contained in H.R. 133. The extension was signed into law on Sunday.
“While we wait on additional Federal guidance, I have directed WorkForce West Virginia to be prepared to respond as quickly as possible and deliver this much-needed relief to eligible West Virginians,” said Gov. Jim Justice. “As we always have been, we are all in, and will be a leader in turning this legislation into resources for West Virginia.”
Until WorkForce receives this guidance from the Federal government, WorkForce West Virginia recommends eligible claimants DO NOT file a new claim. Filing a new claim may delay eligible claimant benefit payments.
“We are diligently working to build additional programs and adjust our unemployment computer system to deliver these benefits,” said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner for WorkForce. “Until we receive additional clarification and guidelines, those who feel they are eligible for these benefits should pause until Workforce West Virginia provides additional information.”
When implemented, these provisions will bring additional unemployment compensation to tens of thousands of West Virginians. These programs use existing funding structures already established by labor agencies. As a result, WorkForce West Virginia expects most claimants will avoid an interruption in benefits.
The new provisions also include new requirements to qualify to receive benefits from the federal programs outlined within the act:
-Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): Will provide up to 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants; A claimant must be eligible through a separate unemployment program to receive FPUC; Once implemented, FPUC will be available to cover weeks of unemployment between Dec. 27, 2020 and week ending March 13, 2021.
-Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks; Weekly certification will be required; Claimants will be required to provide documentation of eligibility to qualify for PUA beginning Jan. 31, 2021; PUA will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date), with allowance for three additional weeks of benefits for those who have not reached the maximum number of weeks through week ending April 3, 2021.
-Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 24 weeks. PEUC will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date), with allowance of three additional weeks of benefits for those who have not reached the maximum number of weeks through week ending April 3, 2021.
-Return to Work Requirements: States must have methods in place to address claimants who refuse to return to work or refuse to accept an offer of suitable work without good cause.
WorkForce West Virginia will provide updates as received from the U.S. Department of Labor.
For more information about unemployment benefits, including federal pandemic relief programs provided by the CARES Act, visit workforcewv.org.
Information submitted by WorkForce West Virginia.