Have you had problems getting paid unemployment benefits?

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - New information tonight, for thousands of unemployed people still waiting for their Virginia Employment Commission benefits check to arrive.

We first reported on a computer problem that's causing payment delays across the country in December. We know when those checks might be arriving.

When you've been out of work for months, the last thing you want to hear is, our computers don't work.

A local college student called 12 for help, getting her unemployment check.  The answer we got for her ... is great news for thousands of others.

"I had money saved up, but I'm running low," said Ciara Chandler. "I don't have anything coming in. I'm just dishing out."

Every dollar counts for the third-year Virginia State University political science major. Any delay or upset in her cash flow causes concern.

"You tell me to wait, how long? I have bills to pay and I can't get a definite date of when my money is going to come?," Chandler said.

I wanted to know what Ciara did to resolve it herself. She filed an extension, claim in November and has been waiting since. She made phone calls, in-person visits to V.E.C. ... and finally, an answer she doesn't want to hear.

"They said Va. computers weren't updated and they didn't have the software, the programs on the computer to do the third extension. I'm like, I'm not getting my money because yall compters are out of date?," she said.

Unemployment offices across the country are inundated with claims and payment backlogs. Antiquated computer systems, won't allow the new, federally, approved benefits extensions.

So, guess what Virginia's, V.E.C. staff is doing, with 10,700 applications?

"They have to be keyed by hand," Chandler said. "My roommate is going thru this, my Mom just went thru it, she's still waiting.

"Maybe unemployment put on the spot, maybe they're like let's hurry up. Let's get this thing rolling."

We got answers, and Ciara got two phone calls today. She should have her check by Thursday.

"Our staff has been working overtime," said Joyce G. Fogg of the V.E.C. "We've hired additional staff to key those applications and we are anticipating being caught up on keying all the applications, this week."

I passed along a few other complaints -- and V.E.C. contacted those people today.  If you're having trouble getting your unemployment benefits, call the V.E.C. hotline, 1-866-832-2363. A phone call, the agency says, is the best way to reach them. You can also send an email to customer service@vec.virginia.gov.

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