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The Process to Claim Unemployment Benefits in West Virginia

Newly out-of-work residents can learn how to claim unemployment benefits in West Virginia to receive temporary financial assistance while they look for new jobs. Claiming benefits for unemployment is not a one-time request, as beneficiaries need to recertify each week that they meet the requirements of the program. 

We have compiled helpful information, hints, and tips about claiming unemployment benefits in West Virginia on this website and FAQs and our free guide. Learn more about unemployment benefits in West Virginia by reading below, checking out our West Virginia FAQs, and reading our free guide.

Learn About Unemployment Benefits in West Virginia

If the word “eligible” is checked on a WV unemployment benefits claim, the former employee has met the sufficient wages requirement. The weekly unemployment insurance benefit amount shown on the form is based on the total covered wages paid during the base period.

This does not mean that the petitioner has final approval to receive benefits though, as he or she has to meet all the other requirements to receive benefits. The state will then look at the UI petitioner’s:

  • Reason for employment separation.
  • Their ability to work.
  • Their availability for work.

The former employee can determine their weekly benefit amount by going online or by contacting the local office. The online calculation does not include out-of-state wages, federal employment or military wages.

Also, the claimant will not begin receiving unemployment claim benefits until he or she serves a one-week waiting period. The waiting period only occurs once each benefit year. There is no payment for the waiting period and it can only be served after the application for unemployment benefits.

If the WV unemployment insurance applicant works part-time, his or her weekly benefit will be reduced.

The WV unemployment benefits claim is also affected by school attendance and training, pensions, retirement, Social Security benefits and Social Security disability, bonuses, wages in lieu of notice, holiday or vacation pay, back-pay awards, and workers’ compensation awards.

Learn About Filing a Claim in West Virginia

When evaluating anunemployment benefits claim, the state must verify that the applicant earned sufficient earnings in covered employment to establish a “benefit year.” The unemployment insurance benefit year is the 52-week period during which unemployment benefits are available to the applicant. This does not mean they will receive 52 weeks of benefits.

The benefit year starts on the Sunday he or she applied for unemployment benefits. That date becomes the “effective date” of the new unemployment claim. If the claim is for partial employment, the benefit year begins with the first week for which the employer gives the UI petitioner a Low Earnings Report.

The state must then make decisions about whether the applicant is entitled to receive federal unemployment benefits. The agency will determine if the applicant has sufficient wages to qualify for a “weekly benefit amount.”

The state will send the claimant Form WVUC-B-14B/T4, “Deputy’s Decision and Notice of Charges,” which is the claimant’s Notice of Monetary Eligibility. This notice will show:

  • The 12-month “base period” used for the claim that determines the weekly benefit amount.
  • The covered employers who paid the claimant the wages in the base period.
  • The total covered base period wages.
  • The beginning and end dates of the benefit year.
  • If the claimant is eligible, the monetary weekly and “maximum benefit amount” he or she can receive during the benefit year.

The claimant should review the Notice of Monetary Eligibility and verify that the information, including the employers and wages, is correct. If the unemployment benefits claim petitioner believes there is an error with the notice, he or she needs to take paystubs, W-2 statements and any other proof of wages to the local office and request a “Redetermination.” Applicants need to continue filing weekly claim certifications as instructed while the wages are being investigated.

For WV federal unemployment benefits, if the base period wages are correct and the word “ineligible” is marked on the form, the former worker cannot receive benefits at this time on a regular base period.

The regular base period consists of the first four of the last five completed quarters immediately preceding the first day of the individual’s benefit year. In this case, the claimant may be eligible using the “alternate base period” which is the last four completed quarters immediately preceding the first day of the claimant’s benefit year.

This alternate base period will be automatically explored if the claimant is ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits using the regular base period. If the claimant is still monetarily ineligible, he or she has the right to file another new claim application if they are unemployed in a later quarter.

After the initial application has been approved, the former worker needs to file a weekly certification to claim unemployment benefits on an ongoing basis. Each week runs on a calendar basis from Sunday through Saturday, and the applicant cannot file a weekly federal unemployment benefits claim certification until the week has ended. The filing window would then be 12:01 a.m. Sunday EST through 5 p.m. Friday EST in which to file the weekly claim certification for the prior week.

The two options available to file for unemployment benefits in a timely manner include:

  • Online using the Interactive Web Response System.
  • By telephone using the Interactive Voice System.

The claimant must have both his Personal Identification Number (PIN) and Social Security number available to complete the filing process. Both systems will ask the former worker questions relating to:

  • Their availability for work during the week they are claiming.
  • The number of job contacts they made.
  • Any income or earnings they may have had during the week

How Long You May Receive Benefits in West Virginia

The maximum unemployment insurance amount in West Virginia is up to 26 weekly benefits. If applicants file their claim certificate each year and receive the full weekly benefit amount for each week, they will consume their balance after 26 weeks (six months) and have no available benefits for the remainder of their benefit year.

An unemployment benefits extension granted by the federal government would increase the original maximum benefit amount.

Learn About West Virginia Unemployment Benefits and Federal Income Tax

All West Virginia federal unemployment benefits are subject to federal and state income tax. When the initial claim is filed, the UI beneficiary may elect to have the Unemployment Compensation Division withhold and send federal income taxes in the amount of 10 percent of the gross weekly benefit payment to the Internal Revenue Service on their behalf. However, state income tax cannot be withheld in West Virginia. Form 1099-G, which is sent to the applicant, will include the amount of any taxes withheld.

Last Updated: October 12, 2022