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Claimants’ Frequently Asked Questions
How do I file for unemployment benefits?
Report in person to the nearest unemployment claims office as soon as possible after you lose your job. If you receive a low earnings report from your employer, you may file in person or by mail. If you fail to file promptly, you may lose credit for any weeks you were off work before you do file.
Where do I file for unemployment benefits?
Report to your nearest claims office. For a list of West Virginia UC Claims office addresses, click
What do I need to bring with me to file for benefits?
Bring your social security card and a photo ID (such as your driver’s license) with you to verify your identity. If you are separated from the military, bring your DD Form 214 as well. If you are an immigrant, you must supply documentation of your work status. You will be asked to provide names and complete mailing addresses for all employers for whom you worked during the last 18 months. Be prepared to furnish the dates you worked and the reason you left each employer.
Is there a waiting period?
Yes, there is a one-week unpaid waiting period during a claim year. You cannot serve the waiting period before you apply for a claim.
How do I file for my weekly benefits?
You may file by telephone using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system 1-800-379-1032, or by the Internet at
. These are the fastest and most efficient ways to file. You may report in person to your local claims office, but this may slow the receipt of your benefits.
What wages are used to determine the weekly UC benefit amount?
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 paid wages in at least two quarters of your base period to be monetarily eligible to receive UC benefits.
What is a base period?
A base period is the time frame we look at to determine whether you have been paid sufficient wages to be eligible for unemployment compensation. It is a 12-month period determined by the beginning date of the new claim. The 12-month period consists of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the starting date of the new claim.
How long will it take to receive the first payment?
We estimate that it will take approximately three weeks from the date you file your initial claim to receive a payment.
If I quit my job, will I still be eligible to receive UC benefits?
When an employee voluntarily quits a job, the burden of proof rests on the employee. Generally, the employee must be able to prove that the employer was at fault in the separation before UC benefits can be paid. There are, however, special provisions in the West Virginia Unemployment Compensation Law that specifically allow the payment of UC benefits to individuals who quit their employment.
One of the special provisions applies when an individual quits due to personal health problems; in order to obtain benefits, the claimant must present a doctor’s statement that says that the work aggravated, worsened, or would have worsened the health problem. Another provision applies when the claimant leaves employment to return to work with the last preceding employer and does, in fact, return to work with that employer within 14 days.
When you file your UC claim, we will gather the needed facts relating to your reason for quitting. We also request information from your employer. Based on information obtained from both parties, we will issue a written decision to you and your affected employer. This decision will tell you whether you are eligible for UC benefits. Both you and your employer will have the right to appeal this decision if you disagree with it.
I was discharged from my job. Will I be eligible to receive benefits?
When an employee is discharged from a job, the burden of proof rests with the employer. The employer must be able to prove that the individual was discharged for work-related misconduct before benefits are denied. The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has defined misconduct as “conduct evincing such willful and wanton disregard of the employer’s interests as is found in deliberate violations or disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employees, or in carelessness or negligence of such degree or recurrence as to manifest equal culpability, wrongful intent or evil design, or to show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer’s interests or of the employee’s duties and obligations to his employer. . . on the other hand, mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, failure in good performance as the result of inability or incapacity, inadvertencies or ordinary negligence in isolated instances, or good faith errors in judgment or discretions are not to be deemed misconduct within the meaning of the statute."
There are two types of disqualifications possible for work-related misconduct. The duration of a disqualification for simple misconduct is the week in which the separation occurred plus six additional weeks. Gross misconduct carries a disqualification that begins the week of the discharge and continues until the claimant returns to covered employment and works at least 30 days.
When you file your UC claim, we will gather the needed facts relating to your discharge. We will also request information from your employer. Based upon the information obtained from both parties, we will issue a written decision. This decision will tell you whether you are eligible for benefits. Both you and your employer will have the right to appeal this decision if you disagree with it.
How much can I earn and still be eligible to receive UC benefits?
You may work and earn up to $60 per week and still receive your full weekly benefit amount. Wages of more than $60 are deducted from your weekly benefit amount on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Any amount of wages earned must be reported.
Are retirement benefits, severance pay, or wages in lieu of notice considered to be deductible income?
Retirement benefits are deductible if they are received from a fund contributed to by a base period and/or chargeable employer. Severance pay is not deductible. Wages in lieu of notice are deductible.
What is the difference between filing for regular UC benefits and low earnings?
You are totally unemployed when you are completely separated from employment, earning no wages and performing no services. You may do some work and still be eligible for either full or reduced UC benefits (depending upon your earnings). You must report to us any odd-job or part-time work and any earnings payable.
Low earnings —
You are partially unemployed if you were hired as a full-time employee but your regular hours and earnings are reduced because of circumstances over which you have no control. You are still on your 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. You are not required to look for another job or take a job offered by another employer. In all other respects, total and partial unemployment are the same.
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