CHARLESTON – With thousands of claims for unemployment compensation flowing, the state of West Virginia is processing applications and getting funds out as quickly as possible, according to the governor.
Governor Jim Justice expressed concern about unemployment during Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing at the Capitol in Charleston.
According to Justice, the West Virginia WorkForce processed more than 90,000 applications for unemployment compensation benefits in March, destroying all state records. The states usually process as many as 5,000 applications per month, with 3,400 applications processed in March on average.
“We are controlled by them,” Said justice. “I appreciate all the good work (WorkForce West Virginia) is doing, but they are really overwhelmed.”
Since early April, Justice said the country had received 28,000 other unemployment compensation applications. WorkForce West Virginia has three call centers in the state to process claims and answer phone calls. The University of West Virginia also uses a call center to assist the claims process and the West Virginia National Guard has supplied labor to the West Virginia WorkForce to clean up deposits.
“Taking aspirin for cancer will not help us. We have to make concrete steps, “ Said justice. “I say whatever General Hoyer and Manpower believe needs to be done, triples. Because the people at home are injured and they are worried about paying electricity bills and everything else under the sun. We will fix it.”
West Virginia WorkForce staff with assistance from the National Guard processed 28,500 applications on Monday with claims of more than $ 20 million.
“We have people from the National Guard … who take calls, help with unemployment compensation applications, answer fundamental questions, and soon they will process unemployment claims,” said Scott Adkins, acting West Virginia WorkForce commissioner, in a video presented at the briefing on Tuesday. “That allows us to expand the capacity of Workforce to accept the entry of unemployment claims.”
Major General James Hoyer, aide to the National Guards general, said 520 guards were active duty in West Virginia, with 30 guards supporting the West Virginia Workforce. The guards fielded 803 telephone calls about unemployment compensation between midnight Monday and 7 o’clock Tuesday, he said.
Justice thanked the National Guard for stepping forward.
“That’s just a perfect example of how we all pull the rope,” Said justice. “We will all continue to pull the rope and we will get there.”
Justice also announced Tuesday that the West Virginia Workforce will begin distributing an additional $ 600 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation provided by C.A.R.E.S. Acting for qualified jobless claimants. The law, which was passed by Congress last month, included an additional $ 600 per week for recipients of unemployment compensation for up to four months.
According to daily testing data released by the Ministry of Health and Human Resources, the country saw a surge of 67 new positive cases of corona virus since Monday – a 19 percent increase – bringing the total number of positive tests to 412, although the increase could be related to an increase in testing. The total tests completed jumped from 9,940 Monday to 12,059 Tuesday. The number of positive cases compared to the total testing was 3.4 percent while the national percentage was 18.8 percent.
“For those of you who are seeing the number of positive tests increasing, that is true, but what is happening here is that there is a large amount of further testing that is happening,” Said justice. “We hope the positivity increases, but the good part is the positive versus the total test still decreasing, which is good news.”
Justice said the country would receive orders for 500,000 surgical masks and 500,000 dresses in the next seven days for health workers and first responders. Justice praised Jeff Kessler, former president of the Senate satay and native of Glen Dale, for helping to link the country with suppliers.
“Jeff, we really appreciate that call,” Said justice. “We met with our people and (National Guard) and they did a great job. The order is placed, and we hope to have 500,000 surgical masks and 500,000 real dresses soon. “
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