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WorkForce West Virginia set to distribute Federal Pandemic Employment Compensation

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(WVVA) - The final full week of March saw more than 6.5 million Americans file for unemployment.

WorkForce West Virginia has also received a staggering amount of claims since the COVID-19 outbreak. From April 1-6, 28,011 unemployment claims have been made in the Mountain State.

The demand has been so great, Governor Jim Justice decided to call in the National Guard.

"Whatever we think is adequate that WorkForce is soliciting for the [National] Guard -- do three times that," Justice said Monday. "Because we've gotta get these unemployment claims out."

Senior Master Sergeant Robert Fluharty has seen that increase firsthand.

"The initial response on Friday was six individuals from the Army Air National Guard, which has changed now to almost 25 in individuals participating and supporting this mission," he recalled.

Governor Justice says the extra assistance is already making a difference.

"I very, very proudly can tell you that in one day -- [Monday]-- we processed 28,500 of those claims," he said in his Tuesday address. "So we're catching up and we're catching up really, really fast."

The good news continued for those seeking assistance through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act.

Justice announced Tuesday that WorkForce West Virginia will begin distributing the additional $600 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation to all qualified claimants.

"That's a big bump and that's going to be additional monies to all of those out there that are on unemployment," he said. "They absolutely are processing the claims right now."

West Virginians with questions about the CARES Act can visit the WorkForce West Virginia website. For more specific information and frequestly asked questions about who qualifies for its benefits, click here.

Those without regular internet access can call WorkForce West Virginia at 1-800-252-5627.

Nick Dugan

Sports Director

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