Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Virginia’s unemployment insurance system–run by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC)–has struggled to ensure that tens of thousands of residents who now need to access the financial support owed to them actually receive it. Overburdened, the UI system in our state is failing and must be fixed.
HOW BIG IS VIRGINIA'S UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROBLEM?
Since mid-March 2020, the total number of initial claims in
Virginia for unemployment payments is (as of 9/3/2020)
That's more than the entire population of:
and is about 1 in 8 Virginians
Virginia residents filed initial claims for unemployment
continued weeks were claimed
(Compared to just 18,264 the same time last year)
The VEC simply can't keep up.
Many people’s claims are taking months to process, while some others begin to receive payments only to have them suddenly stop with no explanation.
Attempts to contact the VEC by phone, email, website, or mail prove to be nearly impossible for many folks.
"We have lost everything I feel like, and then the worst of it is my unemployment stopped coming in last week without a warning. No issues, just stopped.
I don't know how much more I can take"
Stories like Sarah’s are more and more common as people continue to try to make ends meet without the safety net of our unemployment system that was designed to help bridge the gaps when times get hard.