What are unemployment benefits?
The Unemployment Compensation (UC) program provides temporary income support to individuals unemployed through no fault of their own or individuals who are working less than their full-time hours. Individuals may apply for benefits the first day after becoming separated from employment or after their employer has significantly reduced their work hours. If eligible, individuals will receive money for a limited time to help them meet expenses while they’re seeking new employment. To be eligible for UC benefits, individuals must be a worker who performed services that are covered by the West Virginia Unemployment Compensation Law. New to unemployment? Start with the West Virginia Claimant Handbook to learn more about eligibility, benefit payments, and how to file a claim.
All applications for benefits are checked thoroughly. Always provide complete, accurate, and truthful information when filing for benefits. Fraudulent claims may result in fines, criminal prosecution, and/or other penalties. Please visit Understanding UI Fraud for more information.
How to apply for unemployment benefits
To file for unemployment benefits:
- The fastest and most efficient way to apply for benefits is online.
- If an individual is unable to file online from their home/cell phone, they may visit the nearest WorkForce WV local office and utilize the computer lab to file their claim. Staff will be available to answer any questions.
- If an individual is unable to visit the nearest WorkForce WV local office, please contact 1-800-252-JOBS (5627) for further assistance.
Please follow the instructions below for filing a claim.
Step 1: Eligibility
Any unemployed individual may file a claim for UC benefits. Once the application for benefits has been filed, eligibility is based on the information provided by the individual and their employer(s). Individuals who are unsure if they qualify for unemployment benefits should still apply. There are three basic steps to determining eligibility for UC benefits:
The first step is to determine whether an individual is financially eligible for benefits, also known as monetarily eligible. Individuals must have covered West Virginia wages during the past 12 to 18 months and have earned at least the minimum amount of wages as determined by West Virginia UC Law.
If an individual has been determined financially eligible, the second step involves the nature of the job loss, also known as separation from employment. Is the individual unemployed through no fault of their own? This decision is based on the information provided on the initial application and information collected from the former employer.
Maintaining Eligibility and Requalifying for Benefits
The third step is to meet weekly eligibility requirements. For example, individuals must be able to work full-time, be available for full-time work, not refuse suitable work when offered without good cause, and participate in reemployment services if required. To learn more, please visit Maintaining My UI Eligibility and Avoiding Problems with Your UI Claim for more information.
Step 2: Apply
Apply online to save time and receive benefit payments faster. Individuals may apply online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please have the following information available prior to applying for benefits:
- Social Security Number
- Home and mailing address (if different)
- Telephone number and valid email address
- Government issued photo ID
- Direct deposit bank information- bank name, account, and routing number
- If the individual is not a U.S. citizen or national: Alien Registration Card
- If the individual worked for the federal government in the past 18 months, Standard Form 8; Standard Form 50
- If the individual was on active duty in the U.S. military during the past 18 months: DD Form 214, Member 4 or Service 8.
Also, please email a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
or they may mail it to:
Initial Claims Unit
1900 Kanawha Blvd E
Building 3, Suite 3
Charleston, WV 25305
Information about Separating Employer:
- Employer’s name and mailing address
- Employer’s phone and fax number
- First and last day worked with employer
- If filing during the last week of employment, gross earnings for that week
- Reason for leaving/Reason for reduced hours
- If the individual is being recalled to this employer, date of recall
- If the individual worked for a college, university, or school: the individual’s return date following a break and original terms of contract
- Pension or severance package information (if applicable)
- Other states the individual has worked in the past 18 months
Step 3: After You Apply
After an individual has completed their initial application for benefits, they should immediately start looking for work and submit their weekly certification as addressed in steps 4 through 5 below.
The waiting week is the first week an individual files a weekly certification and meets all eligibility requirements. Before an individual can start receiving benefits, West Virginia UC Law requires one waiting week per claim. Individuals will not be paid money for the week, but claiming the week is required to receive credit for it as a waiting week.
After an individual has applied for benefits, they will be mailed a Monetary Determination notice. This notification is not an approval of benefits but tells individuals how much they could receive if they are approved. This document explains how many weeks an individual may receive unemployment. Please do not confuse the “benefit year” with how many weeks they’ll be eligible. The maximum number of weeks an individual can draw unemployment in West Virginia is 26 weeks.
The information on the Monetary Determination is what is used to determine an individual’s weekly benefit amount and benefit weeks. Please review this document for any errors. If an amount is incorrect or if an employer during the past 18 months missing, please report to the nearest WorkForce WV local office or call 1-800-252- JOBS (5627) for further assistance.
Some Individuals will receive a Deputy’s Decision
No Issue on Claim: If an individual has submitted their weekly certification, served the waiting week, and there’s no eligibility issue on the claim, their benefit payment should be deposited into their bank account or debit card within 72 hours of filing their first payable weekly certification.
Disqualifying Issue on Claim: If an individual has submitted their weekly certification, served the waiting week, but there’s a disqualifying issue on the claim, they will not receive payment until a Deputy’s Decision has been made. Once a decision on the issue has been made, the individual will receive a Deputy’s Decision in the mail. If this letter awards the individual benefits, they can expect to receive payment within 72 hours of filing their first payable weekly certification. If this letter denies benefits and the individual does not agree with the Deputy’s Decision, they may file an appeal. Please follow the instructions on the denial letter and submit the appeal to the nearest WorkForce WV office by the date indicated on the denial letter.
Other Important Information
- Submit weekly certifications
- Report honestly and accurately
- Watch for and read all information from WorkForce WV. This information may be time sensitive and affect your eligibility for benefits.
- Start seeking work
Read the West Virginia Claimant Handbook to learn more about the requirements.
Step 4: Look For Work
Individuals are required to look for work and document their work search activities when receiving unemployment benefits. Please visit Completing My Work Search Activities for more information. Need help logging work search activities? Please utilize WorkForce WV’s Work Search Activity Log.
Now hiring: Individuals interested in working for WorkForce WV can see available jobs here. Just change the filter option to WorkForce WV to see all available positions.
Get job-search assistance
WorkForce WV can provide an individual assistance with their job search! This includes job hunting tips and techniques, job referrals, and career exploration. Please visit Find a Job for assistance.
Step 5: Weekly Certification
Once the unemployment benefits application has been submitted, individuals must submit a weekly certification for every week they wish to receive benefits. A weekly claim covers the prior week. For unemployment purposes, a week is Sunday through Saturday. A weekly certification cannot be completed until the week is over. It is recommended that individuals file their weekly certification on Sunday, but they may file up through Friday by 5pm.
West Virginia UC Law requires individuals to report all work and earnings, including tips and commissions each week, Sunday through Saturday. Individuals must report all gross earnings, even if they have not yet received payment from their employer. Please visit Reporting My Earnings for more information.
If an individual has applied for unemployment benefits within the past 12 months but stopped filing their weekly certifications, they will need to reopen their claim. Please do not submit a new initial claim application. To reopen a claim, please click the button below and choose, “To file a new/additional Initial Unemployment Claim” and answer yes to the question, “Have you filed a claim with West Virginia in the last 12 months?”
Step 6: The Appeals Process
Benefit Denials and Appeals
If an individual disagrees with a decision about their unemployment benefits, they may appeal that decision. Please follow the instructions on the appealable notice and submit the appeal to the nearest WorkForce WV office. Please note that not all correspondence is appealable.
Flow Chart of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Process
WorkForce WV (WFWV) sends decision letter. Claimant or employer requests an appeal. WFWV enters the appeal, sends to the Board of Review (BOR). BOR will schedule a hearing. Hearing will be conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Decision will be made by an ALJ. Decision will be sent in writing to all parties. Then one of two things can happen. One: The ALJ decision can be appealed, please see decision for instructions on how to appeal. Two: Decision is received by WFWV. WFWV processes decision and updates the claim.