With many businesses forced to layoff employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, states are quickly enacting changes to Unemployment Benefits. We’ve compiled a list of changes to unemployment benefits for Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland and West Virginia.


Virginia

How to File

You can file electronically at https://vec.virginia.gov/unemployed or call 866.832.2363to the Virginia Employment Commission

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by Virginia law
  • Must have earned at least a minimum amount in wages before you were unemployed
  • Must be able to work, and you must be actively seeking employment

Value of Benefits

  • Minimum weekly benefit is $60
  • Maximum weekly benefit is $378
  • May receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks

Exceptions for Employees due to COVID‐19 Pandemic

  • Beginning with claims effective March 15, 2020
  • The one week waiting period has been suspended for those receiving unemployment insurance benefits
  • The requirement to conduct a weekly job search has been suspended

Exceptions for Employers due to COVID‐19 Pandemic

  • Employers who do slow or cease operations will not be financially penalized for an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits
  • Authorization of rapid response funding, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency; funds may be used to clean facilities and support emergency needs

Washington, D.C.

How to File

You can file electronically at www.dcnetworks.org or call 202.724.7000 to connect to the Department of Employment Services (DOES) Customer Navigation Center

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be able and available to work, and yo must be actively seeking employment
  • Must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by D.C. law
  • Must have earned at least a minimum amount in wages before you were unemployed

Value of Benefits

  • Will be 1/26 of your wages in the highest paid quarter of the base period
  • Maximum weekly benefit is $425
  • May receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks

Exceptions for Employees due to COVID‐19 Pandemic

  • Workers whose jobs have been affected in some way by the public health emergency may be able to claim unemployment insurance with no waiting period and no requirement to be actively searching for work
  • Workers who have been excluded from the unemployment benefits eligibility may have access to various community organizations’ benefits to serve street vendors, sex workers, hospitality workers and more who cannot access the funds at this time

Exceptions for Employers due to COVID‐19 Pandemic

The District of Columbia passed the COVID‐19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, which:

  • Creates a public health emergency small business grant program that allows the Mayor to give grants or loans to eligible small businesses, non‐profit organizations, and independent contractors and self‐employed individuals not eligible for unemployment insurance
  • Prohibits evictions, including for non‐residential tenants, during the public health emergency
  • Allows all businesses except hotels to defer without penalty sales tax payments for February and March 2020 until July 20, 2020; and extends the March 31 real property tax due date for hotels until June 30, 2020

Maryland

How to File

You can file electronically at https://secure-2.dllr.state.md.us/NetClaims/Welcome.aspx or call 410.949.0022to the Maryland Claims Center

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by Maryland law
  • Must have earned at least a minimum amount in wages before you were unemployed
  • Must be able and available to work, and you must be actively seeking employment

Value of Benefits

  • Minimum weekly benefit is $50
  • Maximum weekly benefit is $430
  • May receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks

Exceptions for Employees due to COVID‐19 Pandemic

  • The Division considers each claimant’s efforts in relation to the labor market conditions to determine if the search for work criteria has been satisfied.
  • The Division might not require claimants to search for jobs, but instead require claimants to perform other reemployment activities, such as creating a resume, completing online classes and training courses, or other tasks to help with reemployment in the future
  • Claimants are not required to search for work if their employer has temporarily laid off the claimant and has provided a return to work date that is less than 10 weeks in the future

Exceptions for Employers due to COVID‐19 Pandemic

  • No employer will see an increase in their tax rate for 2020 due to COVID‐19. Unemployment insurance benefits are proportionately charged to each employer based on the employee’s earnings in their base period. Contributory employers may see an increase in their 2021 tax rate as a result of benefits paid due to COVID‐19
  • In the event that a process for employers to apply for a waiver of charging of any benefits paid due to COVID‐19, additional information will be provided outlining the requirements

West Virginia

How to File

You can file electronically at https://uc.workfocewv.org or call 800.379.1032 to WorkForce West Virginia

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must have earned at least a minimum amount in wages before you were unemployed
  • Must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by West Virginia law
  • Must be able and available to work, and you must be actively seeking employment

Value of Benefits

  • Minimum weekly benefit amount is $24
  • Maximum weekly benefit is $424
  • May receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks

Exceptions for Employees due to COVID‐19 Pandemic

Under the WV State of Emergency Declaration regarding COVID‐19, the following processes are waived:

  • The one‐week waiting period for benefits
  • The able to work and available to work requirements
  • The work search requirements
  • The actively seeking work requirements

Exceptions for Employers due to COVID‐19 Pandemic

Because of West Virginia’s narrow expansion of its unemployment eligibility criteria, employers are awaiting a decision on whether West Virginia will opt‐in to the federal CARES unemployment benefits. If it does, it would significantly expand not only the maximum weeks and benefit amount, but also the availability of benefits in general

*please note, specific questions about your unemployment status or process should be directed to the state in which you applied. YHB is not affiliated with any state programs.


Stay up-to-date on the latest resources and news concerning COVID-19


Questions about your business? Our HR Pros Can Help.