Fix VA’s Unemployment Insurance System

UPDATE: Judge Hudson directed the parties to file a joint order dismissing Cox v. Hess, which the parties did on January 4, 2022.  Read more here.  The parties remain committed to the November 2021 benchmarks, and will continue dialogue on ways to make system improvements.  If you have questions, go here, and if you need help, go here.       


UPDATE: The parties in Cox v. Hess filed a document together in November 2021.  The document lists a number of issues the VEC needs to work on.  Read more here.  

UPDATE: Judge Henry Hudson has ordered the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) to end the unemployment insurance backlog and fix issues at the agency read more here

Virginia’s unemployment system is still underwater.
Claim delays remain.
Virginians and their families are underwater.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Unemployment insurance is supposed to be emergency aid. If there’s an issue with someone’s claim, it’s supposed to get figured out quickly.

Some Virginians are still waiting for answers.  They applied and now they’re waiting.  Often for months.  If they can get info, they are told their cases will be decided later.  Some folks have been getting benefits in the meantime, but not all.

For most of the pandemic, Virginia has been slower than every other state in the U.S., and slower than D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, in resolving issues on unemployment claims.
 In the last three months of 2020, less than 5% of “nonmonetary” issues (like how someone’s job ended) were resolved by Virginia within 21 days. In early 2021, it was less than 3%. Some Virginia workers who lost their jobs in March, April, or May 2020 are still waiting, even now, for issues to be decided on their cases.

Source: State Rankings of Core Measures, U.S. Dep’t of Labor, available at

Behind these stats are real Virginians and their families.
They are facing homelessness, food insecurity, and despair.

I applied for unemployment insurance back in may, and till this day(dec 14) have not seen a penny. I have been told that they are waiting for a deputy to review my case. I’ve been homeless, haven’t had money for my blood pressure medication."
I've called the complaint line, and I've spent days on an automated phone system to no avail… I was unable to pay December rent, and I can no longer feed myself… My situation is dire.
I am a single dad of a 5 year old disabled son...I have been filling my weeks of unemployment for almost 4 months now and still have not received my payments. I'm about to lose my home at the end of the month and my car repossessed any day now.
I have a wife and 3 children at home we are so behind on our bills we will lose everything.
I am knee deep in interest and overdue fees… I need surgery. I cannot afford Dental for months. If I lose teeth I will be so angry.
I have used every penny I had in savings and cant get by due to unemployment delays… It brings me to tear every day… What hurts the most is my sons turned 13 dec 15th and I couldn't buy him anything. He hugged me and told me he doesn't need gifts he is happy with [our] dog and food in his belly. I cried. Nobody should suffer like this I feel bad for so many who are probably suffering like me.
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