CHARLESTON — West Virginians who are eligible for regular unemployment benefits will start receiving an additional $600 a week now that state officials have implemented guidelines for administering federal Coronavirus emergency benefits, WorkForce West Virginia announced on Tuesday.
The enhanced benefits are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress voted on last month and President Donald Trump signed into law on March 27. The $600 a week is provided in addition to regular state benefits.
"We've processed claims for folks who are eligible to receive regular unemployment and hope to have our system set up to handle claims for independent contractors and self-employed and gig workers by the end of this week," said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia
Enhanced benefits through the CARES Act are funded by the federal government and will be 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.
"We're working round the clock to process an unprecedented amount of unemployment claims and want folks to know that we are doing everything in our power to help people who have been hurt by the Coronavirus," Adkins said.
“I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to the men and women of the West Virginia National Guard for their support and to Governor Justice for directing us additional resources during this time.”
CARES Act Benefits
Enhanced unemployment benefits provided through the CARES Act will be available to workers who normally don't qualify for regular state unemployment benefits. Benefits include an additional $600 per week in addition to state unemployment benefits, and an additional 13 weeks of payments once someone has exhausted their benefits.
WorkForce West Virginia Expanding Operations to Process Claims
Over the weekend, Gov. Jim Justice announced that WorkForce West Virginia's call line is open 24/7. Members of the West Virginia National Guard are helping the agency respond to callers with questions about the CARES Act and how to file an unemployment claim.
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. For more information about filing for unemployment and other WorkForce West Virginia services and programs, visit www.workforce.org.
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.