CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- WorkForce West Virginia is asking federal workers furloughed by a partial government shutdown to hold off on filing for unemployment benefits.A posting on the agency's website encourages federal workers to wait until next week to file their claims because it's uncertain how long the shutdown will last.According to published reports, federal workers submitted about 30 claims to the agency during the shutdown's first two days, Beth Carenbauer, acting director of unemployment compensation, said.If employees have not returned to work on Monday or Tuesday, they should file claims, she said.
WorkForce West Virginia has increased staff to process an expected rise in claims next week. Staff from other divisions also will be brought in to help.WorkForce estimates there are 23,000 federal employees in West Virginia but Carenbauer said that many may be deemed essential. The Eastern Panhandle has the largest concentration of federal employees, followed by the Morgantown/Clarksburg area.Federal employees who work in another state but live in West Virginia should file claims in the state where they are employed."People have to file in the state they received wages; it's not dictated by where you live,'' Carenbauer said.Carenbauer said people filing for benefits should bring proof of wages, screen prints of the federal website My Pay, 2012 W-2 tax forms and a completed copy of the initial claim application from WorkForce West Virginia's website."In this time of great uncertainty, we want to make sure they get the benefits they are entitled,'' Carenbauer said.WorkForce West Virginia said that it would backdate claims up to 21 days after a worker is laid off. When possible, the agency will attempt to schedule group claims.If at least 10 employees are laid off, federal employers should contact the nearest WorkForce West Virginia local office. When possible, a group claims taking session will be scheduled, the agency said.