New COVID-19 economic relief bill to benefit West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY)- During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice discussed the new COVID-19 economic relief bill, signed by President Donald J. Trump last night, which will provide $900 billion in aid across the country for those affected by the pandemic.

While Gov. Justice expressed disappointment that individuals and businesses struggling because of the pandemic were not given more in the package, he also added that he appreciates that a deal finally got done.

Some of the most significant components of the stimulus bill include:

  • CARES Act spending extension to Dec. 31, 2021 for state and local governments.
  • Direct payment of $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year, and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year, plus an additional $600 per child.
  • Enhanced unemployment benefits of $300 per week for 11 weeks.
  • $319 billion for small businesses, including $284 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • $25 billion in rental assistance with an extension of the eviction moratorium.
  • $82 billion for schools and universities, with $10 billion dedicated to childcare.
  • $7 billion for increased access to broadband.
  • Additional funding to support vaccine distribution.

WorkForce West Virginia announced today it is awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on the CARES Act unemployment extension provisions contained in the bill.

“While we wait on additional federal guidance, I have directed WorkForce West Virginia to be prepared to respond as quickly as possible and deliver this much-needed relief to eligible West Virginians,” Gov. Justice said. “As we always have been, we are all in, and will be a leader in turning this legislation into resources for West Virginia.”

Until WorkForce receives this guidance from the federal government, WorkForce West Virginia recommends eligible claimants do not file a new claim. Filing a new claim may delay eligible claimant benefit payments.

“We are diligently working to build additional programs and adjust our unemployment computer system to deliver these benefits,” said Scott Adkins, Acting Commissioner for WorkForce. “Until we receive additional clarification and guidelines, those who feel they are eligible for these benefits should pause until Workforce West Virginia provides additional information.”

When implemented, these provisions will bring additional unemployment compensation to tens of thousands of West Virginians. These programs use existing funding structures already established by labor agencies. As a result, WorkForce West Virginia expects most claimants will avoid an interruption in benefits.