Published in: Banks | April 6, 2020

How to Apply for Unemployment in West Virginia

By:  Dana George

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Losing a job for any reason can be jarring. If you've lost your job in West Virginia, here's how to file for unemployment benefits.

The West Virginia state flag flying in front of a blue sky.

Image source: Getty Images

More than 90,000 West Virginians have filed for unemployment benefits since businesses began stuttering due to COVID-19, otherwise known as the novel coronavirus. If you don't manage to snag another job right away and need to file for benefits, you might have questions. Read on to find out whether you are eligible, how you should apply and how much you might receive.

Am I eligible for unemployment benefits? 

To be eligible for unemployment benefit payments in West Virginia, you must:

  • Be unemployed through no fault of your own
  • Have been paid wages of at least $2,200 during your base period and earned wages in at least two quarters of your base period. "Base period" refers to the first four quarters of the last five completed calendar quarters before you file a claim. (As a reminder, one quarter equals three months). If you have not earned enough during this period, you may be able to qualify using an alternate base period.

Normally, you would also need to be able and available for work, and actively seeking it in order to receive benefits. However, West Virginia has waived these requirements during the COVID-19 outbreak. You will still need to complete a weekly claim application.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

The best way is to apply online through the WorkForce WV website. Try to avoid using a cell phone or tablet as they don't work well with the site. Be aware that the system is experiencing temporary outages due to high demand during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

If you don't have internet access or have a disability that requires assistive technology, call 800-252-5627. 

Be prepared to supply the following information:

  • Your Social Security number or government-issued documentation showing your work status if you're not a U.S. citizen
  • Driver's license number
  • Names and mailing addresses for all employers you have worked for during the last 18 months
  • Dates of employment for each employer and reason for separation(s)
  • Your DD-214 form if you have been in the military in the last 18 months
  • Your SF-8 form (separation notice) if you have worked for the federal government
  • Your SF-8 form and SF-50 form if you worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits? 

Your specific weekly benefits will be based on the amount you earned during your base period (the first four quarters of the last five worked). West Virginia provides an online calculator that will help you estimate your weekly benefits. All you need to supply is your Social Security number.

The federal government's Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act may also entitle you to an additional $600 per week.

Your benefits will be placed on a prepaid debit card each week unless you enroll to have them directly deposited into your bank account.

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?  

Currently, West Virginians can collect unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If your unemployment claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. You'll need to do so in writing within eight calendar days of the date the initial decision was mailed to you. A hearing will be scheduled with an impartial judge so that you can present your case. 

Unemployment can be a shock to the system, no matter the circumstances. Make it a little easier on yourself by taking advantage of any financial assistance and unemployment benefits you're eligible for.

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