Unemployment insurance eligibility in West Virginia is governed by specific rules. Both initial WV eligibility for unemployment and eligibility after the applicant has been accepted into the West Virginia program are determined by these regulations.
The rules involve how you were separated from your work, your ability to work, your availability to work, your continued search for work, and your willingness to accept a job for which you are reasonably qualified.
We have compiled helpful information, hints, and tips about qualifying for unemployment benefits in West Virginia on this website and FAQs and our free guide. Read more below to learn about who can qualify for unemployment in West Virginia.
Separation From Work in West Virginia
With regards to who qualifies for unemployment in West Virginia, the unemployment applicant must first either be totally or partially unemployed as defined by the law. Qualifications for unemployment in WV are then defined by how the applicant became separated from his or her job.
Generally, he or she must be unemployed through no fault of their own. When an unemployment insurance (UI) petitioner applies for unemployment benefits, he or she is asked to provide a reason for being unemployed.
A request for the reason for separation is also sent to the employer (and sometimes to a previous employer). The employer is also asked to verify the claimant’s reason for separation. If there is conflicting information between the claimant and the employer, requests for additional information from either party may be made.
During this fact-finding process, benefits will not be paid. However, the former worker still needs to file timely weekly claim certifications each week during this process.
Job-Seeking Requirements for Unemployment in West Virginia
For petitioners wondering how to qualify for unemployment in West Virginia, the UI beneficiary must:
- Be physically and mentally able to carry out the activities he or she performed in the previous line of work.
- Be available for work when they are willing to work full-time.
- Make a legitimate effort to find work that they are qualified for.
- Have nothing preventing them from taking a full-time job such as prior engagements or plans.
To meet eligibility for unemployment in WV, the former employee must be able to get to and from work and be willing to accept work in the labor market where he or she lives. In this case, the labor market area is defined as consisting of towns and surrounding areas where people in this occupation would normally travel to work.
The unemployment insurance benefits applicant cannot set restrictions that rule out much of the work in this field. Examples of unreasonable restrictions include insisting on more pay than workers usually receive for this same kind of work in that area, and not being able to work a shift that is considered normal for that occupation.
The claimant for West Virginia eligibility for EDD must register with his or her nearest Job Service/Workforce West Virginia Center or American Job Center network prior to filing for the sixth week of benefits. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as the claimant belonging to a union hall that has a business agent who looks for work for him or her.
Likewise, if a candidate for unemployment insurance coverage is enrolled in a training program approved by the Agency or on jury duty, he or she is exempted from registering. Otherwise, the unemployment claim applicant must also conduct an active job search to find work.
The petitioner may be partially unemployed and filing with a Low Earnings Report or have a verifiable return-to-work date within four weeks of filing the claim.
The number of contacts he or she needs to make depends on his or her occupation, and the condition of the labor market. As the length of the recipient’s unemployment increases, he or she must be willing to expand the search for work.
In other words, applicants may have to consider accepting work outside of their preferred field and be willing to accept other jobs for which they are qualified. They may also have to be willing to accept a lower wage than desired when offered an opportunity for employment.
To maintain eligibility for unemployment in WV, it is critical that the claimant documents all information pertaining to his or her search efforts including:
- Position sought.
- Name and title of the employer.
- Date contacted.
- Web addresses.
- Phone and fax numbers.
Applicants need to save emails or confirmation faxes for their records. The former employee should be prepared to furnish this record should his or her claim be randomly selected for unemployment insurance eligibility review.
If the claimant has an expired West Virginia claim, he or she must re-qualify on a new claim in order to receive unemployment benefits. In order to do this, he or she must have worked and earned wages at least eight times the weekly benefit amount of the previous claim.
To receive a West Virginia unemployment claim, if the former worker is not a United States citizen, he or she must provide documented proof that he or she is permitted to work in the U.S. Base period wages for the applicant’s claim must have been paid while he or she was in legal alien status. Other qualifications for unemployment state that they must have had the authorization to work in the U.S. at the time they claimed benefits.
There are additional rules for:
- Filing for partial unemployment.
- Filing combined wage claims in two or more states.
- Filing an interstate claim.
- Filing for military benefits.
- Filing a claim if the applicant is a school employee or a professional athlete.
- Filing for trade ACT/NAFTA benefits.
- Filing labor dispute claims.
Contact the unemployment insurance office for more information regarding your unique case.
Eligibility for EDD Monetary Requirements in West Virginia
To meet eligibility for EDD in WV, the UI beneficiary must have earned sufficient wages in covered unemployment per state or federal unemployment compensation law. In West Virginia, sufficient wages equate to earning $2,200 during the base period (the first four quarters of the last five completed quarters).
Last Updated: March 1, 2023