How To File For West Virginia Unemployment

This page provides information on how to file for unemployment in West Virginia. If you lost your job or your hours were reduced at no fault of your own, you may qualify to receive unemployment benefits in your state. Review the information below, if you still have questions or issues about these benefits, then we suggest to contact your local West Virginia Unemployment Department for assistance. It is important that you file your new claim right away because West Virginia unemployment insurance are not retroactive.

Information needed when applying for unemployment

Although your initial application was made by phone or internet, to protect your identity, you may be asked to provide your Social Security card and a photo ID (such as a valid driver's license) for verification purposes. Make sure you have these items available and can provide them upon request. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you will be asked to supply government issued documentation showing your work status. Your document must include an identification number, the name of the agency that issued the document, and an expiration date.

You will be asked to complete an Initial Unemployment Compensation Application, wherein you will provide the business names and complete mailing addresses for all employers for whom you worked during the last 18 months, along with the dates of employment and reason for separation from each employer. If you were separated from the following entities, you will be asked to provide the following forms:

  • Military: DD-214 form, the number four copy
  • Federal government: SF-8 form (separation notice)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): SF-8 form and SF-50 form

There is a one-week unpaid waiting period during a claim year. You cannot serve the waiting period before you apply for a claim.

Filing for West Virginia unemployment claim

You must file your Initial Unemployment Compensation Application online at and select the radio button "To file a new/additional Initial Unemployment Claim". If you receive a Low Earnings Report from your employer, you may file the form either in person or by mailing the form to the nearest unemployment claims office. To view a list of local offices, click here. The form must be filed within ten days of receipt or you may lose credit for any weeks you were off work.

How much money can I receive?

To see an estimate on your weekly benefit amount based on West Virginia wages reported to the Unemployment Division, click here. Please be aware that this figure is only an estimate and may not be exact. It does not include out-of-state wages, military wages, or federal wages.

Your weekly benefit amount is based on the total covered wages you were paid during your base period. You must have been paid wages of at least $2,200 in covered employment during your base period and must have been paid wages in at least two quarters of your base period to be monetarily eligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits. The regular base period consists of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the starting date of your new claim. If you are not monetarily eligible during the regular base period, they would then explore the alternate base period to assist you in possibly becoming monetarily eligible.

Filing West Virginia weekly claim certification

You may file your weekly claim certification either by going through our online web service by clicking here or by calling 800-379-1032. Please be advised that you are required to certify your answers as correct prior to submitting your weekly certification. Once you submit the form, your answers become final and cannot be changed. Therefore, it is important that you pay close attention to the questions and responses given when completing your weekly certification. If you are not sure of the question or aren't able to concentrate, it would be in your best interest to stop the process (hang up or disconnect from the web) and either contact your local office for clarification or complete your filing at another time during the week.

You must file your claim certification weekly to stay in active filing status. Remember that you will be filing for the prior week. To be considered timely filed, the weekly claim certification must be submitted between Sunday at 12:01am Eastern Standard Time and Friday at 5pm Eastern Standard Time. You will be paid benefits via the state issued unemployment debit card unless you self-enroll for direct deposit. They estimate your first payment to be made to you within two weeks, provided there are no issues on your claim.

You must be able to work full-time, available to work full-time and actively seeking full-time work for each week. You are required to register with your local job service office or one-stop center before filing for your sixth week of benefits. Those who belong to a union that refers its members to jobs through a hiring hall, and are in good standing, doing what the union requires they do to be subject to call when jobs are available, are not required to seek work or complete job service registration.

If you are receiving benefits with a Low Earnings Report, you are not required to look for another job or take a job offered by another employer. However, you must be available for full-time work as it is available through your employer.

Choosing a payment method

You may self-enroll for direct deposit online by clicking here or visit within two to four days of filing your initial unemployment compensation claim. If you have an existing claim, you may register at any time. You will need your social security number and four-digit PIN you selected when you filed your unemployment claim, as well as a check which has the transit routing number and account number for your financial institution. If you do not have a PIN number or wish to change your PIN, contact your local office for assistance.

You must acknowledge the West Virginia Department of Commerce's Privacy notice and agree to authorize the unemployment program to route your unemployment compensation benefits to your selected bank account. In addition, you also must agree to accept full responsibility for providing the correct information and hold Workforce West Virginia harmless from any and all claims.

You will be asked to enter your bank name, transit routing number, select a checking or savings account, and enter your account number. To verify that you correctly entered your transit routing number and account number, you are required to reenter both a second time. Refrain from copying and pasting this information; doing so will cause you to reenter numbers that you may have typed incorrectly the first time and, thus, delay or prevent you from receiving your payment. Print and keep this page for your records as it is the only opportunity you have to view the entire transit routing and account numbers. Once you save the information, your transit routing and account numbers are immediately masked and you can only see the last four digits.

Debit Card

The month and year expiration date will show on the front of your card. If your card is expired or you do not have a card, you will need to contact the unemployment debit card provider at 866-295-2955 to request that a new card be mailed to you. If the card is sent through regular mail, there is no charge; if you wish to expedite the card, there is a $12.50 fee and there must be sufficient funds in your account to cover the fee.

Please be advised that all calls to the debit card customer service center are monitored and recorded. You may reach a customer service representative 24 hours a day/365 days a year by calling 1-866-295-2955. Press option 1 to select your language, and then option to 1 to report your card lost or stolen. This will take you directly to a customer service representative.

To avoid surcharges and transaction fees associated with ATM's, only use a Key, Allpoint, or WesBanco ATM to check your balance or make cash withdrawals. Teller-assisted transactions are also free at any MasterCard member bank. Using the cash-back option during a point-of-sale transaction at a retail store allows you to withdraw money without having to pay surcharges and fees. To find a free-free ATM close to you, please visit these links:

By creating an account at you can sign up for automatic alerts that tell you when a payment is deposited to your card, enroll in direct bill pay, check your balance, print monthly statements, and get all of your account information online for free.

Filing an appeal

You have the right to appeal any Deputy's Decision you believe is incorrect. If you wish to file an appeal, you must do so within the time limit set by law. A Deputy's Decision becomes final unless you, the employer, or any interested party appeals within eight (8) calendar days from the date the decision was mailed. If the final appeal date ends on a holiday or weekend, the appeal date is extended to the next business working day. An appeal may be submitted in the form of a letter, postcard, memorandum, fax, or WorkForce Unemployment Compensation Appeal form obtained at the local office. The filing date of an appeal sent by mail is the postmark date. When the appeal is filed, the following information must be included:

  • Date of the appeal request
  • Your Claimant Identification Number or last four digits of your Social Security Number
  • A short statement that you want to appeal the Deputy's Decision. You do not have to tell us why you believe the decision is incorrect. Please include the date of the decision being appealed
  • Original signature of individual appealing
  • When the employer or employer representative is the party appealing, include the official title of the employer representative

Please note, it is important to continue to file your weekly certifications timely while the decision is under appeal. If you win your appeal, you can only be paid for weeks you claimed.

Appeal hearings are scheduled and conducted by the WorkForce West Virginia Board of Review. The Board will send you a written notice telling you the time, date, and location set for your hearing. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will conduct the hearing. You will be permitted to give testimony on your own behalf, and you may bring witnesses to give additional testimony. If you wish, you may be represented by an attorney. (The Board will review the amount the attorney charges you to make certain the fee is not excessive.) The employer named in the decision that is under appeal also will be notified and has the right to attend the hearing and give testimony. The Board of Review is located in Charleston, West Virginia, and the telephone number is 304-558-2636. Some ALJ hearings may be conducted by telephone instead of in person. By using a conference call, the ALJ will ensure that each party can hear the testimony given by all parties. You can request a telephonic hearing prior to the hearing date by calling the Board of Review.

If you have a good reason for not being able to attend the hearing, such as a scheduling conflict, you should contact the Board of Review prior to the hearing date and ask to reschedule the hearing for a later date. You must allow sufficient time for the Board of Review to mail a new hearing notice to the employer. If you fail, without good cause, to attend a hearing you requested, your appeal will be dismissed. If you fail, without good cause, to attend a hearing requested by an employer, you will give up the right to tell your side of the story. The ALJ will consider only the evidence presented by the employer.

The ALJ will issue a new decision based on the evidence gathered at the hearing. This decision may affirm (uphold) the decision the Deputy made or it may modify or reverse it. If the ALJ's decision is not in your favor, you have the right to appeal to the Board of Review again. The ALJ's decision will include appeal instructions. An appeal must be filed within eight calendar days from the date the decision was issued.

The ALJ's decision also may be appealed by the interested employer or by WorkForce West Virginia. If the decision is appealed, the Board of Review will schedule a hearing, usually at the Board office in Charleston. Normally, it will not be necessary for you to appear at this second hearing. In most cases, the Board only reviews the evidence that was presented to the ALJ. However, you will be notified of the time and date of the hearing. Your notice will include instructions explaining how Board hearings are conducted and other information you will need if you decide to attend. 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 decision would advise you how to do file an appeal and the fee involved. You may thereafter appeal a Circuit Court decision to the Supreme Court.