CHARLESTON, W.Va. — WorkForce West Virginia has cleared its backlog of claims for unemployment benefits, the agency announced on Thursday.
By midnight on Wednesday, April 22, WorkForce staff had worked through the agency's backlog of claims that didn't have any issues flagged by the system. The agency has received more than 140,000 claims for regular unemployment benefits since March 1.
"There are still some claims we need to manually work through because the claimant listed an incorrect business name, address or personal information," said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner for WorkForce West Virginia. "But we're calling these people so we can clean their claim up and get them the help they need."
The agency also announced that it has distributed nearly $106 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), which provides workers receiving regular benefits an extra $600 each week.
WorkForce To Accept Unemployment Claims For Self-Employed Workers
Self-employed workers who have lost their job due the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for unemployment benefits starting on Friday. Independent contractors, gig economy employees and other workers originally not eligible to receive regular unemployment benefits will be able to file a claim at www.workforcewv.org once the agency's new application system for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) goes live on Friday at 10 p.m.
"We've been working around the clock to get this system up and running," Adkins added. "I want to thank the West Virginia National Guard, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and all of the staff at WorkForce for making sacrifices over the last few weeks to help get money into the hands of struggling West Virginians during this difficult time. I also want to thank Governor Justice for directing resources to us so that we could work to get West Virginians the relief they need."
The PUA program was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment compensation. Benefits are paid retroactively and workers eligible for PUA benefits also are eligible to receive an additional $600 a week through the PUC Program.
To learn more about CARES Act, click here.
Claimants May Receive Auto-Calls From WorkForce
WorkForce is sending auto-calls to remind claimants to certify their previous week of unemployment and to setup a direct deposit to expedite payment of their benefits.
Filing A Claim
The fastest way to file for unemployment 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.
It is important to file a new claim immediately after employment ends. To continue receiving benefits, claimants also need to certify their claim for the previous week of unemployment each Sunday after 12:01 p.m. 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.