West Virginia Unemployment

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West Virginia Unemployment Insurance

West Virginia Unemployment Insurance is an important benefit program that provides qualified residents financial assistance when they find themselves out of work due to events beyond their control. Eligibility is not determined by financial need, but is rather based on employment history. Employers pay into the fund that sponsors the program through an Unemployment Tax and benefits are then distributed by WorkForce West Virginia to those that qualify based on the guidelines provided in the West Virginia Unemployment Compensation Law.

Unemployment Eligibility and Qualifications

General Benefits Eligibility Criteria

Once an application is filed for benefits, it will be reviewed against a set of criteria to determine eligibility. To qualify, you must:

  • Be unemployed through no fault of your own
  • Earned an appropriate amount in wages
  • Have availability to work and be consistently looking for employment
  • Become unemployed through means in which you were not at fault

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While this provides a general overview of eligibility, the best way to determine if you are eligible is to submit an application for unemployment benefits and see if you are qualified.

Work Eligibility Criteria

In order to collect benefits, you must meet the work eligibility criteria for the state of West Virginia, which includes the following:

  • All applicants for full benefits are required to be completely unemployed (Part-time work, self-employment, or working for commission may qualify you for a lower Weekly Benefit Amount or may disqualify you from benefits, depending on the circumstances and the wages you make)
  • If seeking partial unemployment, it will be required that hours have been reduced from a full-time job to part-time status
  • Those receiving benefits must be actively seeking employment
  • Separation between you and your former employer must have been through no fault of your own

Wages Eligibility Criteria

Along with meeting the work eligibility criteria, you will also need to qualify for West Virginia unemployment benefits through the wages eligibility criteria. To meet the criteria, you must have made a certain amount in wages during your Base Year, which is the first four of the last five quarters. If your income was at least $2,200 in that time frame, you will be eligible for unemployment benefits. In addition, you must have received wages in at least two quarters during your base year. The amount received will also be a factor in determining the amount of benefits received weekly, so it will be important to verify the accuracy of this information.

Once it has been determined that you earned enough in wages to be qualified for benefits, a Notice of Monetary Eligibility will be sent to you, showing the amount of salary earned during your base period in each quarter. Also, if it has been determined that you are eligible, the total weekly benefits received and the maximum benefits allowed will also be shown.

If you did not earn enough income using the regular base period, an alternative base period will be reviewed selecting a different quarter in an attempt to help you become qualified. At that point, you may be determined to be ineligible, and a new claim can be filed later in the year.

Some individuals may require that wages be reverified if inaccurate historical information is present on the Notice of Monetary Eligibility form. If this were to occur, it is important that you file for weekly benefits during the formal review process.

Unemployment Availability Limits

West Virginia Unemployment benefits will be maxed out at 26 full weeks of pay. The number of weeks that you receive will be determined based on your prior work history. If you are working part-time, any wages earned over $60 per week will be subject to being deducted. If you work full-time hours on any given week, you will not be eligible to collect benefits. In addition, any amount of money received from a pension account will need to be reduced from the weekly benefit. Other limits on accepting unemployment will be if you are awarded Workers’ Compensation benefits like total disability payments because this would indicate that you are not available to work.

Unemployment Extensions

West Virginia will allow specific extensions on unemployment benefits when you have exhausted what is available to you during periods of economic downturn. You will receive a notification if the state has determined that it is necessary to allow extended benefits.

While this option is not in effect at this time, you may be allowed up to 13 times your original weekly benefit when there is an economic downturn. You would also need to maintain the same activities that were originally required such as continuing to search for employment and making a set number of employment search contacts per week.

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