Steps to File an Initial Claim and General Information

If I live in West Virginia, how do I file my claim?

Report in person to the nearest unemployment claims office as soon as possible after your job separation and complete an Initial Unemployment Compensation Application.  To find the local office closest to you, click  

If you receive a Low Earnings Report from your employer, you may file the form either in person or by mailing the form to the nearest unemployment claims office.  The form must be filed within ten days of receipt or you may lose credit for any weeks you were off work.

If I live outside of West Virginia, how do I file my claim?

There are two ways you can file. You may call the toll free number, 1-800-379-1032, select Option 6, then select Option 1 for a new claim OR you may also file on the Internet by accessing our website at  Telephone claims are taken Monday-Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

How much money can I receive?

Click  to receive an estimate of your weekly benefit amount based on West Virginia wages reported to the Unemployment Division. Please be aware that this figure is only an estimate and may not be exact.  It does not include out-of-state wages, military wages, or federal wages.

How is my payment amount determined?

Your weekly benefit amount is based on the total covered wages you were paid during your base period.  You must have been paid wages of at least $2,200 in covered employment during your base period and must have been paid wages in at least two quarters of your base period to be monetarily eligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits. The regular base period consists of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the starting date of your new claim. If you are not monetarily eligible during the regular base period, we would then explore the alternate base period to assist you in possibly becoming monetarily eligible.

What type of claim could I be eligible for?

Regular/total unemployment—you are totally unemployed when you are completely separated from employment, earning no wages and performing no services.

Low earnings/partial unemployment—you are partially unemployed if you were hired as a full-time employee but your regular hours and earnings are reduced due to lack of work.  You are on the employer’s payroll, but that employer cannot give you full-time work.  Your employer may issue you a Low Earnings Report while your work hours are reduced.

Could I be denied?

When you file your unemployment compensation claim, we will gather the needed facts.  Any time an issue is raised that might affect your right to receive benefits, we are required to investigate and issue a formal decision.  This is a written notice that describes the issue, the facts we gathered, and our reason for concluding that you are (or are not) eligible to receive benefits.  You have the right to appeal any decision with which you do not agree.  It is in your best interest to file your claim and allow us to determine whether an issue exists.

What documents do I need to file my claim?

To protect your identity, you may be asked to provide your Social Security card and a photo ID (such as a valid driver’s license) for verification purposes.  Make sure you have these items available and can provide them upon request.  If you are not a citizen of the United States, you will be asked to supply government issued documentation showing your work status. Your document must include an identification number, the name of the agency that issued the document, and an expiration date.

You will be asked to complete an Initial Unemployment Compensation Application, wherein you will provide the business names and complete mailing addresses for all employers for whom you worked during the last 18 months, along with the dates of employment and reason for separation from each employer.  You may click here Initial Unemployment Compensation Application to access and print the application prior to reporting to your local office.

If you were separated from the following entities, you will be asked to provide the following forms:

  • Military: DD-214 form, the number four (4) copy
  • Federal government: SF-8 form (separation notice)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):  SF-8 form and SF-50 form.

Is there a waiting period involved?

There is a one-week unpaid waiting period during a claim year.  You cannot serve the waiting period before you apply for a claim.