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SB WEDNESDAY: status of unemployment benefits

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BLUEFIELD, W.Va (WVVA) - WVVA is helping to answer your questions about small business loans, unemployment, taxes, business reopening, and more.

John O'Neal, Executive Dir. of the Mercer County Economic Development Authority, is helping answer viewers' questions.

WVVA: We have heard from some viewers that they are no longer receiving their unemployment checks. John what can you tell us about the status of these claims?

O'Neal: The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Program, which provided an additional $600 per week for eligible persons, expired on July 25, 2020. All claims filed and certified after August 1 do not include the extra $600 per week benefit.

There are ongoing negotiations between the President and the Democrats in Congress to attempt to craft a new benefit package that may include renewed unemployment benefits in some fashion.

WVVA: We have heard that the President has issued Executive Orders concerning these and other benefits. What is the latest on this?

O'Neal: President Trump and Congressional leaders could not reach agreement on a legislative relief package. So the President issued four Executive Orders on Saturday August 8. He ordered that the Pandemic Unemployment Benefits continue, but at $400 per week.

He ordered that payroll taxes on those earning less than $100,000 per year are to be deferred until the end of the year. He issued a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on that involved federal funds. He also extended the deferral and interest waiver on federally guaranteed student loans.

WVVA: Are these orders legal, and when will we see the results of them?

O'Neal: The order authorizing the additional $400 unemployment benefit requires that participating states contribute $100 of that benefit. Governor Justice indicated that West Virginia is willing and able to participate in the program, though there is no starting date yet.

The Workforce West Virginia website encourages people to continue to file their claims each week. They expect further clarification soon. More information can be found here.

Melinda Zosh

Evening Anchor and Producer

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