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The reasons applicants are denied unemployment benefits in West Virginia are varied. When candidates get the unemployment benefits denied, it can involve an initial disqualification, or may occur during the course of collecting weekly benefits. Should an applicant be denied unemployment in WV, he or she has the option to file an unemployment denial appeal with the state. The reasons applicants can be denied unemployment, the answer to the question “What can I do if unemployment denied me benefits?” and the appeal process are elaborated upon in the following sections:
• Reasons you were denied unemployment in West Virginia
• Unemployment compensation benefits denied after being accepted in West Virginia
• Filing an unemployment denial appeal in West Virginia
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Appealing Denied Unemployment Benefits
An initial disqualification may get a claimant’s unemployment benefits denied as a result of any of the following:
1) Unemployment insurance applicant quit his or her most recent job voluntarily without good cause, even if it was only a part-time.
2) Petitioner quit his or her most recent work voluntarily for a health-related reason and failed to notify the employer prior to leaving.
3) Applicant quit the job to relocate. The one exception being an individual who voluntarily severed employment to accompany a spouse who is serving in active military service whom has been reassigned from one military assignment to another.
4) Candidate was discharged (fired) from his or her last job or a previous job for work-related misconduct. However, a wrongful termination would not disqualify the applicant from receiving benefits.
5) Claimant does not have the ability or availability to work full-time.
6) Could not provide documentation of his or her identity and/or citizenship.
7) Petitioner left his or her job to participate in a strike or labor dispute.
8) Candidate is engaged in self-employment activities.
9) Applicant has insufficient wages to qualify monetarily for unemployment benefits.
10) Claimant knowingly made false statements or omitted information to qualify for unemployment.
In addition to having WV unemployment benefits denied due to an initial disqualification, UI beneficiaries can be denied unemployment benefits even after they receive unemployment compensation in West Virginia. For example, if they: failed to register with or report to a Job Service/WorkForce West Virginia Center or American Job Center prior to filing the sixth week of benefits; failed to participate in all reemployment services provided by the Job Service/WorkForce West Virginia Center or American Job Center or failed to report any earnings or other income while receiving unemployment insurance coverage. Other violations pertaining to WorkForce requests and failures to accurately report or document pertinent information will also result in benefit denials after the beneficiary has already begun collecting unemployment.
The claimant has the right to file an unemployment denial appeal in West Virginia if they disagree with a decision made by the Deputy. The claimant has eight calendar days from the date the decision was made to file an appeal. If the final appeal date ends on a holiday or weekend, the appeal deadline is extended to the next business working day. An unemployment denial appeal may be submitted by letter, postcard, memorandum, fax, or WorkForce Unemployment Compensation Appeal form. The filing date of the appeal is the postmark date.
When an appeal is filed, the following information must be included: date of the appeal request, the Claimant Identification Number or last four digits of the Social Security number; a short statement that the claimant wants to appeal the Deputy’s decision including the date of the decision being appealed; and the original signature of the individual appealing. The unemployment insurance claimant needs to keep filing his or her weekly certifications on time while the decision is under appeal—if the petitioner wins the appeal, he or she can only be paid for weeks they claimed.
WV unemployment denial appeal hearings are scheduled and conducted by the WorkForce West Virginia Board of Review. The Board will send the claimant a written notice telling him or her of the time, date, and location set for the hearing. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will conduct the hearing and reevaluate whether the claimant meets the qualifications for unemployment. The claimant will be permitted to give testimony and may bring witnesses to the appeal hearing. The claimant may be represented by an attorney (the Board will review the amount the attorney charges to make certain the fee is not excessive). The employer named in the appeal has the right to attend the hearing and give testimony. Some hearings may be conducted by telephone via conference call so that all parties can hear testimony from all parties.
The ALJ will issue a new decision based on the evidence gathered at the hearing. It may uphold the Deputy decision or may modify or reverse it. If the ALJ decision goes against the former employee, and he or she is still denied unemployment, the claimant appeal to the Board of Review again. An appeal must be filed within eight days from the date of the ALJ decision. The Board of Review may affirm, modify, or reverse the decision made by the ALJ. The Board’s decision may be appealed to the Circuit Court, and the Circuit Court’s decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court.