CHARLESTON, W.Va. — WorkForce West Virginia is encouraging employees who believe they are eligible for programs under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to remain patient as the agency awaits guidelines for distributing benefits.
Enhanced unemployment benefits provided through the CARES Act will be available to workers who normally don’t qualify for regular state unemployment benefits. Benefits include an additional $600 per week in addition to state unemployment benefits, and an additional 13 weeks of payments once someone has exhausted their benefits.
“There’s been a lot of confusion over how to apply for CARES Act benefits, so we’re telling people to be patient with us while we wait for the funding to become available,” said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia. “Folks can be assured that as soon as we get guidelines from the United States Department of Labor we will make an announcement and provide instructions on how to apply.”
Those eligible for CARES Act benefits include people who:
- Are self-employed
- Work for a church or nonprofit
- Are an independent contractor or gig worker
Other factors that may qualify someone to receive CARES Act benefits include:
- Being available and able to work, if not for COVID-19
- Being diagnosed with COVID-19 or providing care to a someone who has been diagnosed
- Being the primary caregiver for a child unable to attend school as a result of COVID-19
- Being unable to attend work because of a quarantine or being advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine
While President Donald Trump signed the relief package into law on March 27, the Department of Labor has yet to provide technical guidance or a start date for the program. Benefits will be paid retroactively from the time an employee was separated from their job or otherwise became eligible under the federal CARES Act, not from the time the application was submitted or approved. Further details regarding CARES Act funding is still a few weeks away.