Virginians experience issues when applying for unemployment

Getting answers during unemployment frustration

CREWE, Va. (WWBT) - Several Virginians have called 12 On Your Side with issues they’ve come across when applying for unemployment, and Jessica Niro is one of those people struggling to get benefits.

Every time she entered her weekly claim, she ran into the same problem.

"It just keeps saying not processing, not processing,” says Niro.

NBC12 presented her with our $300 dollar “Acts of Kindness” award, to make ends meet while working to get her some answers.

“Usually they’ve put in some kind of wrong information. Either their social security number is not correct, their last employer is not correct, or there’s some information that is not correct,” said Communications Manager at the Virginia Employment Commission Joyce Fogg. “The best way is to call 1-800-897-5630. That will tell them what the issue is.”

Keep in mind, this is separate from the number you call to file your initial unemployment claim. Where wait times can be upwards of two hours according to Fogg, but they’re trying to reduce that wait time.

“We’ve added staff at both of our call centers. Twenty-five staff members in Grundy, and 10 in South Boston. We’ve deployed staff from other divisions within the agency who have a background in UI to come in immediately to assist. The last thing we did was add a third call center,” says Fogg.

Still, all of those improvements might not be enough to tackle these incredible numbers.

“Between March 21 and May 2, we had 625,000 initial claims - that’s unprecedented. We’ve never had that many claims,” says Fogg.

That’s not including the close to 100,000 people filing for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Fogg says they’ve gone from roughly 270 claims a day to well over 15,000 on average. Other common issues to be aware of, some people have been overpaid - and there’s a pause in assistance until things level out.

“Maybe they find out information that instead of being laid off or furloughed, they quit.”Some people are also missing callbacks from the VEC.

Or, calling on behalf of someone else, and the Employment Commission can’t discuss that information anyone other than the person who filed.

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