How to Calculate Virginia Unemployment Benefits

Updated : August 4th, 2020

Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefit amount for claimants from Virginia are determined by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) after reviewing your eligibility and past earnings in your base period. The base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters. Calendar quarters are three-month periods, starting with January of each year. When you become eligible for unemployment compensation, your weekly benefit amount will be conveyed to you, but you can estimate that amount in advance, if you prefer.

VEC calculates your compensation amount by taking your past salary and factoring it in the State’s maximum benefits guidelines. If you are eligible, then you will be sent with a determination letter of unemployment benefit amount.

How to calculate Virginia’s Unemployment Benefits Amount

We have developed a tool to calculate approximate benefits amount. Check Virginia Unemployment Calculator to estimate your compensation

After evaluating your wages during the base period (the first four months of the past five calendar quarters) , Employment Commission takes into the fact the amount of money you have earned during the past 12 months as an employee. Average weekly wage earned during the two highest earning of the calendar quarters of your base period is very essential to calculate and consider your weekly benefit. Almost half of this is awarded as the weekly benefit amount by considering the earnings of $2,700 in 2 highest 2 quarters of Base Period [In short $2,700 in 2 HQs- To qualify for benefits, an individual must have earned at least a total of $2,700 in two quarters in the base period].

Your weekly benefit amount is calculated by using the formula 1/50 of 2 High Quarters or your minimum wage should be less than that of $18,900 in 2 Quarters.

Virginia UI Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount

Source of Virginia’s Unemployment benefit amount is the taxes levied on each employee’s payroll. In order to avoid  claimants collecting huge amount on unemployment benefit, Virginia sets guideline on how much anyone is supposed to collect as benefits at the time of unemployment.

Though he/she has earned good amount in their base period on previous salary, you cannot afford to collect more than the determined maximum weekly amount. Maximum weekly benefit amount is $378 per week. Note: every year the maximum set amount changes depending on the average number of the employees in Virginia.

Virginia UI’s Minimum Weekly Benefit Amount

The minimum weekly benefit is determined as $54. An individual should have earned at least $18,900.01 in two quarters during the base period to qualify for the maximum weekly benefit amount.

Duration of the benefit amount varies from 12 to 26 weeks, it also depends on wages earned in the base period.

Duration of the Unemployment Benefit

Duration of the unemployment benefit you will be collecting through Virginia Unemployment Compensation is calculated based on the number of credit weeks you have increased during the base period.

A credit week is considered for the week where the base period earning would be more than 50 dollars. If the credit week is less than 17 weeks then you will be receiving 13 weeks of benefits. If it is more than 17 credit weeks, then you will be receiving 26 weeks of payments.

Maximum Number of Payments

There is only a limited number of unemployment benefit payments you can collect from the Virginia. From the beginning of the benefit year, [beginning of benefit year is the date you initially file for the unemployment benefit] out of the 52 week that follows, you are eligible to collect a total of 26 weeks of compensation regardless of how many times you have gone on and off unemployment during that benefit year.

After you exhaust your initial  unemployment benefits you can apply and collect the Emergency Unemployment compensation with continuation of extended unemployment benefits funded either by State or Federal Unemployment extension programs of Virginia.

This guide explains how to apply for unemployment in VA . Follow step by step instructions that will help you file for benefits through PA unemployment office.

Determine your eligibility to file for unemployment benefits in VA

There are some basic rules for eligibility. Even if you meet some of these rules partially, you should still apply for unemployment because state unemployment offices make a reasonable attempt to process your claim, as long as you provide a good justification.

  1. You must have lost your job through no fault of your own.
  2. You must be willing and able to work. If you are physically disabled, you do not qualify.
  3. If you have received severance package when you lost job, you do not qualify.
  4. You must have earned minimum wage credits set by the Virginia Unemployment Agency
  5. You must have earned an average weekly wage of at least $50.00. This amount may change every year. You can get get complete eligibility criteria from state website mentioned in the next section.

Prepare documents required to apply for unemployment in

  • Your name, address, social security number and other personal details such as telephone number, email address etc.
  • Dependents name, date of birth and their social security number.
  • Details of your previous employer. For each employer, you need to provide
    1. Name and address
    2. Telephone number
    3. Start and end dates of employment
  • If you had out-of-state employment in the past 18 months, you also need to provide the employment details.
  • Reason you lost the job – it has to be involuntary to be eligible to receive benefits.

You can submit your application for unemployment compensation online, off-line (by mail or by visiting local employment office) or through telephone. Online application is the quickest and most efficient option which would available 24 x 7.


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  1. How do you get a hold of a live person to talk about your rejected back to work bonus. They keep asking for pay stubs. I submit and get the same rejection letter again. What am I missing. Need to talk to a real person.

    1. Desree,

      The phone lines might remain busy during peak hours. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible (you might be required to book an appointment prior to the website).

  2. Form SSA-632BK , quote “File to waive the overpayments if the overpaid unemployment amount was not your fault. You can request an overpayment waiver by filing the Social Security Administration (SSA) form”. Thank you for the information that this form can be used for unemployment benefit overpaid. I try to file a form SSA-561, Request for Reconsideration.

  3. I filed for unemployment benefits in November 2020 and requested payments every time as requested up untilvthe time I went back to work in February 2021 and still Have Not received the first payment from unemployment office when should I expect to receive these payments

    1. Debbie,

      For a faster resolution, please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible (you might be required to book an appointment prior to the website).

  4. Think it that people only qualify for back to work bonus, if they were still getting unemployment in May. I stopped receiving PUA benefits in beginning of year and went back to work in March after having been unemployed since March 2020… I think I should be eligible.

    1. Kris,

      I suggest you talk to the Unemployment Office for clarification. If you think you’ve been denied wrongfully, please consider filing an “Appeal”.

  5. I’m Tonya Denise Sneed and I have still not been compensated for doing my weekly certification… That the week of my pay, I was never paid… And I need that money from May 4, 2020

    1. Tonya,

      Please note this is a private forum and we do not have access to your claim file. Kindly chase the Unemployment Office over the phone or via the website.

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