WorkForce West Virginia mailing out 57,000 benefit checks this week

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Thousands of West Virginians will be receiving $2,400 in additional unemployment benefits from WorkForce West Virginia over the next few days.

Scott Adkins

The payments, according to WorkForce acting Commissioner Scott Adkins, began going out Tuesday.

The $2,400 is a lump sum payment covering a six-week period that began Aug. 1 and ended Sept. 5. Those on unemployment because of the pandemic were approved for $400 a week ($300 from federal funds, $100 from the state) payment.

Adkins said there’s only one payment. FEMA has exhausted the $44 billion set aside for the additional benefits through an executive order from President Donald Trump. Approximately $113 million is West Virginia’s portion.

“That’s all of the funds that available, according to FEMA,” Adkins said during a Tuesday appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.” “Once this goes out there won’t be any additional payments from FEMA.”

Adkins said 20,000 checks were mailed out Tuesday, 30,000 are scheduled to be mailed Wednesday and another 7,600 on Thursday. WorkForce West Virginia usually doesn’t send benefits out by check but programming its system for the new benefit would have taken six weeks. Adkins said they wanted to get the money out as soon as possible.

Adkins is urging residents to be alert.

“Make sure you’re looking at the mail you’re receiving if you’re on unemployment. The check will be in a WorkForce envelope, so it should readily identifiable,” Adkins said.

There’s another group of unemployed residents, those under the special Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that will get their money through direct deposit. Those deposits will begin being made on Wednesday, Adkins said.

The $2,400 payments only go to those residents who qualify for more than $100 a week in regular unemployment benefits. Those who make less than $100 in regular unemployment will receive a $600 check from the state.

Adkins said another group of residents, approximately 7,000 people who were on unemployment between July 19, 2019 and March 15, 2020, will receive a robocall from WorkForce West Virginia this week asking them to contact the agency to attest part of their employment came because of the pandemic. Those who qualify will also get the $2,400.

The future of additional benefits remains uncertain with Congress still deadlocked on another stimulus package.

“There’s going to have to be congressional action for any payments above and beyond what FEMA is offering,” Adkins said.

Those unemployed due the pandemic previously received $600 in extra weekly benefits from late March through the end of July.

Adkins said those who don’t receive their checks or direct deposit by early next week should contact the agency.

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