More than 11,000 self-employed workers have applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits since Friday, WorkForce West Virginia announced on Monday.
While self-employed individuals now have the opportunity to apply for unemployment compensations, WorkForce is required to review and verify each application to determine eligibility based on federal guidelines outlined in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“It’s been a marathon race to get help to our state’s self-employed workers who’ve lost their livelihoods because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner for WorkForce West Virginia. “But folks can be assured that they will be made whole. With the help of West Virginia National Guard and Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, our staff is making sure we see this thing through to the end.”
The PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment compensation to certain self-employed workers, independent contractors and gig-economy employees who normally don’t qualify for regular state unemployment benefits. Individuals will be notified when their applications are approved and when direct deposit and weekly certifications are available. Payments will be retroactively applied dating back to March 29
For more information about PUA benefits and a list of documents required during the application process, visit workforcewv.org/cares-act-questions.
Since March 1, WorkForce has received 150,000 applications for unemployment benefits and has distributed nearly $148 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), which provides workers receiving regular benefits an extra $600 each week.
The agency also is working on making Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits available. This program provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment compensation to workers who have exhausted regular state benefits or are otherwise not eligible for regular unemployment benefits under state and federal law.
WorkForce will announce when these extended benefits are available and notify all individuals with expired benefits when they can apply.
The fastest way to file for federal pandemic and regular state unemployment benefits is online at workforcewv.org. Those who do not have internet access, have a disability requiring assistive technology or need further assistance should call 1-800-252-JOBS.
It is important to file a new claim immediately after employment ends. To continue receiving benefits, claimants also need to certify their claim for the previous week of unemployment each Sunday after 12:01 p.m.
For more information about COVID-19, call the state’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit coronavirus.wv.gov.