Judge declines to dismiss lawsuit over slow processing of unemployment benefits

(Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 10:02 AM EDT
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A federal judge says he’s not ready to dismiss a lawsuit over Virginia’s slow processing of unemployment claims, citing among other things ongoing complaints that have been arriving in his own office.

“The Court continues to frequently receive telephone calls from individuals reporting difficulties processing their claims and communicating with the VEC,” wrote U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in an ordered filed last week.

The Virginia Employment Commission, which throughout the pandemic has ranked among the slowest in the country at processing claims that required human review, had asked Hudson to dismiss a lawsuit filed by legal aid groups around the state.

The commission wrote that they had met the terms of a settlement reached in late May, beating a deadline that required the state to adjudicate at least 95 percent of the 92,000 backlogged claims by Labor Day.

The legal aid groups, led by the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, objected, arguing that while the commission had addressed most of the backlog that existed as of May, thousands more claims have piled up since then.


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