West Virginia Unemployment
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File for Unemployment in West Virginia
Unemployment Application and Initial Claim
File Your Unemployment Application and Initial Claim Process
In West Virginia, you will file for unemployment at the closest unemployment office and attend a group meeting. You can find the local office on the state’s WorkForce West Virginia website. All applicants will need to complete the “Unemployment Compensation Initial Application” accurately to expedite the process. This application will ask questions about your employment history, how you came to being unemployed and personal demographic information. You can find the application online and fill it out before coming to the office, but you will have to file for benefits in person.
You can qualify for benefits as being fully unemployed or partially unemployed. If your employer has had to reduce your hours to part-time, you can ask the company to provide you with a Low Earnings Report so you can apply for partial benefits. You will also not be required to look for work, but you have to be willing and available to take all the hours offered to you. You will fill out the application in person at the nearest office and it will need to be completed within ten days of your hours being reduced to avoid a denial of benefits. While you are collecting partial benefits, if you find yourself completely unemployed, you can go to your local unemployment office and change your status to fully unemployed. At this point, you are expected to begin seeking employment and making work search contacts weekly.
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Documents and Information Needed During Filing
You will need to have the following documents and information available while filing for unemployment benefits:
- Social security number (or documentation on work status if not a United States citizen)
- Employer information for the last 18 months of work history, including your mailing address, dates that you were employed, and reason for separating with each employer
- Photo ID (Examples: Driver’s license or passport)
You may also be required to provide the following documentation depending on your employment history:
- If you were in the military, you will need to bring a DD-214 form
- If you were in the federal government, you will need to bring a SF-8 form
- If you worked for FEMA, you will need to bring a SF-8 form and SF-50 form
Claim Weekly Benefits
In West Virginia, it is required that benefits be claimed weekly by verifying that you are still unemployed under the same circumstances you were when you originally applied.
During this verification process, you will need to do the following:
- Conduct weekly searches to actively find full-time employment
- Keep your registration active with the local Job Service / Center
- Be continually involved with reemployment activities, including job fairs and education opportunities provided by Workforce West Virginia
- Report any job offer received or declined
- Inform the agency if any form of income or wages are received or earned during the week
- Verify that you are available to work (not attending school, out of town, ill, or disabled)
How to Claim Weekly Benefits
In order to collect your benefits, you will need to go to the online portal or call (800) 379-1032 every week at any time from Sunday at midnight through Friday at 5:00 p.m. If you miss this window for any reason, you are required to appear at the local unemployment office in person. The office employees will ask for you to provide the reason for missing the filing date, which will be reviewed and decided upon. Until this step is completed, you will be unable to collect any future benefits.
If you decide to file for unemployment benefits through the portal or by phone, you will need to provide your social security number and the PIN that was created during the initial application process. You will then need to verify that you were available to work, report the number of contacts made and if you earned any income during the period that you are filing. Depending on your answers, you may be asked to provide additional information and your claim will have a hold on it until more information is received. When complete, you will be given a confirmation number, indicating everything was filed successfully. If there is a problem with your filing and a hold is placed on your claim, you will still want to file a claim each week to ensure that you are paid appropriately after you provide the necessary documentation.
Claim Denials or Discrepancies
When filing for unemployment, a series of questions are asked to determine eligibility for benefits. If a claim is denied, whether it be through the initial application or weekly certification, a written notice will be sent that details the reason for the decision. Of course, any denial or discrepancy can be appealed.
Any document that you receive via from the unemployment office should be opened immediately. Communication regarding documents required to avoid having benefits denied will occur through the mail. For example, you might be selected at random for an Eligibility Review, which requires an interview to be completed within a set period. During the interview, the unemployment office will verify that you understand your responsibilities to continue to collect benefits. The office will also provide ideas for how you can be more successful in your search efforts.
One common reason for having benefits denied is not taking acceptable work. If you are offered a position that is in reasonable proximity to where you live, is appropriate for your skill set, and the pay is comparable, you must accept the position or risk having your benefits denied. The same qualifications exist for areas that you are referred to apply. If you fail to accept a position that is offered, you will not be able to collect benefits for the week the offer was extended as well as the next four weeks.
You can also put your interests at risk by attending school or a training program if it prevents you from being available for work. Be sure to inform the unemployment office of plans to enroll and make sure that you still have time to actively search for employment. If the training is vocational and will help increase your chances of finding a job, you might still be able to collect benefits, even if you are not able to actively search for a job. You will need to talk to the representatives in your local office for approval before you begin any training or vocational program. They will send you a form that will need to be filled out by the facility that you are receiving training in order for you to continue to receive benefits.
It is important that you report any wages that were earned while collecting unemployment benefits, whether it be part-time work or even odd jobs. This also includes any income from being self-employed. If these wages are not reported, it can cause your claim to be denied. As a result, you will be expected to pay back funds received and could be declared disqualified from receiving future benefits. You have the ability to earn $60 a week without having any money deducted from your weekly benefits, as long as it is reported. Failing to report any monies received is a common reason for a weekly claim to be denied.
Appeals Process for Denied Claims
When a decision is made to deny benefits, everyone can appeal that decision as long as the appeal is filed timely. Any interested party, whether it be the beneficiary or the employer, has eight calendar days from the mailing date of the decision to submit the WorkForce Unemployment Compensation Appeal form. The form is required to include the date of the appeal, claimant identification number, the reason for appealing, and the date of the original decision.
A hearing will be scheduled with the WorkForce Board of review, and you will be notified through the mail of the time and logistics. While it may be scheduled in person, it is more likely that it will be a scheduled conference call. During the hearing, it’s encouraged that you bring all necessary information that backs your claim including witnesses and evidence. It is very likely that if the employer challenged the legitimacy of your original claim, they would also be at the hearing in front of the Administrative Law Judge.
Based on the evidence and testimony, a new decision will be made by the judge assigned. If you do not agree with the judge’s ruling, you can submit another appeal to the Board of Review. The board will listen to the original case and review the evidence provided to make a decision. Since no new evidence is taken for the appeal, you will not attend the exam, but you will receive a notification of when it will occur.
You do have a right to appeal the Board of Review’s decision to the Circuit Court and finally to the Supreme Court, but there will be a fee required. Throughout the appeal process, you will want to continue to file for benefits weekly so that if the decision in made in your favor, you can be paid for the weeks that you claimed.
Office of Appeals Contact Information
If you are need of appealing a denied claim, contact the Board of Review at:
Unemployment Compensation Board of Review
112 California Avenue
Charleston, WV 25305