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WorkForce WV preparing to act fast on unemployment benefits

WorkForce West Virginia is awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Labor on extension of unemployment benefits signed into law by President Trump Sunday.

“While we wait on additional federal guidance, I have directed WorkForce West Virginia to be prepared to respond as quickly as possible and deliver this much-needed relief to eligible West Virginians,” said Gov. Jim Justice in a press release.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation extension will provide up to 11 weeks of an additional $300 in weekly benefits. People who receive the additional $300 must already be receiving unemployment benefits. The extension covers the weeks of Dec. 27, 2020, through March 13, 2021.

The extension also includes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. PUA includes the 11 weeks of additional benefits up to 50 weeks and is geared toward people who are self-employed, or independent contractors. Weekly certification is required and documentation of eligibility will be required after Jan. 31, 2021.

The second program extension — the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation — will provide 11 weeks of the extra benefits up to a maximum of 24 weeks. It also allows for three additional weeks of benefits for people who have not reached the maximum number of weeks by April 3, 2021.

“We are diligently working to build additional programs and adjust our unemployment computer system to deliver these benefits,” said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner for WorkForce. “Until we receive additional clarification and guidelines, those who feel they are eligible for these benefits should pause until Workforce West Virginia provides additional information.” 

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