Virginia Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment Insurance (UI) in the state of Virginia is handled by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). Monetary support is provided by VEC until you find another job. You can submit your Unemployment benefits application at the Virginia Workforce Connection website to be eligible for unemployment insurance.
The Virginia Workforce Connection provides an array of services to job seekers. The services include financial services, education services, career explorer, and labor market facts, etc.
Find out all the details such as eligibility criteria, documents required to file for benefits, and so on information required to file for unemployment benefits in Virginia.
Eligibility to Apply for UI Benefits in Virginia
You must meet certain eligibility requirements such as monetary eligibility, job separation, and maintaining certain job search requirements to be eligible for UI in the state of Virginia. You must maintain your eligibility in all aspects to remain eligible throughout the benefit period.
To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Virginia, you must have been paid wages for at least two-quarters of your base period totaling $3000. Your monetary eligibility is determined by the wages you earned in covered employment during your base period or alternative base period.
Your weekly benefit amount is determined by the two quarters and is determined by two quarters with the highest-earning during the base period. The maximum weekly benefit amount for UI in Virginia is $378, and the minimum amount is $60. You must have earned at least $18,900.01 in two quarters during the base period to qualify for the maximum weekly benefit amount.
Benefit Year- This is a period of 52 consecutive weeks, which begins on the first day of the week in which you file for a claim. A benefit year shall be 53 weeks if filing a new claim results in overlapping any quarter of the base period, with a previously filed new unemployment claim in Virginia.
Base Period- The first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. Immediately preceding the first day of your benefit year.
Alternative Base Period- It is the four most recently completed calendar quarters directly preceding the first day of your benefit year.
Claim- The notice of unemployment to request a determination of eligibility and the amount of benefit entitlement you can receive.
Claim Week- This is a period of seven consecutive days, which begins and ends at Saturday midnight. It is a unit of measurement to determine employment, unemployment, and insured employment.
Claim Series- The series of claims filed for continuous weeks of the total, part total, or partial unemployment.
Maximum Benefit Amount – The amount of benefits you may receive during the benefit year. The amount is calculated by multiplying your weekly benefit amount and the number of weeks of benefit which you may qualify for.
Depending on the amount of wages you earned during your base period will determine your weekly benefit amount. The benefit duration varies from 12 to 26 weeks depending on your wages earned in your base period. The maximum weeks of benefits are 26 weeks in the State of Virginia.
The reason for your separation from your previous employer is important to understand whether you are eligible for UI in Virginia. The law in Virginia states that you must have become unemployed through no fault of your own.
If you want to receive Virginia unemployment benefits you should have left your job with a good cause or your last employer must have fired you with a good cause, to be considered that you left your job for no fault of your own.
Your ex-employer will be sent a questionnaire that collects information regarding your separation from the organization. You will be disqualified for unemployment benefits if the deputy determines that you quit your job without a good cause, or you were fired from your job for misconduct in your work.
The VEC classifies the reasons for job-separation as follows:
Laid Off- If you lost your job or were laid off due to a reduction in workforce, or got downsized for economic requirements you will be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Firing- If you were fired because you lied about your criminal record, failed a drug test, or being repeatedly late or absent you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. If you were fired because you lacked the skill to perform the job, or you were simply not a good fit, you will be eligible for unemployment benefits in Virginia.
Quitting your Job- If you quit your job due to dangerous working conditions or discrimination that you faced at work, you will be eligible for unemployment benefits. However, you won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits if you quit your job voluntarily.
Maintaining eligibility for unemployment benefits is critical once you are eligible for benefits. You must maintain your eligibility and follow certain guidelines to make sure you receive UI without any obstacles.
To receive UI without any obstacles make sure to fulfill the following conditions.
- You must be able to work and be available for work at all times. You are required to make an active search for work
- You must contact several employers each week in an effort to find a job
- You should maintain an accurate record of your work search progress for a period of one year, for auditing purposes
- You must accept suitable work if offered and apply for suitable work if referred by the VEC (Suitable work takes into account several factors such as previous work experience, physical and mental illness, safety or morals, and distance from your home)
- If you want to attend school or training you must request approval in advance to the VEC
- If you are called by the VEC, you must report as directed
- Always respond to all VEC letters including those advising you of potential job openings
- Your job search efforts must include at least two job contacts per week
How to Apply For UI Benefits in Virginia
You will require the following documents to apply for benefits.
The following outlets are available to apply for unemployment benefits in Virginia.
You can file for unemployment in Virginia at www.vec.virginia.gov. You will need to register if it’s your first time filing for UI. You will be asked questions about your previous employer’s name, address, telephone number, your dates of employment and reason for your separation in your application.
You can file for your online claims 24 hours and seven days a week, and you can also claim weekly benefits online.
You can also file your claim or restart a previous claim through the telephone. Dial 1-866-832-2363. The telephone line is available from 8:15 AM to 4:30 PM from Monday to Friday. You can dial the voice response system menu and obtain information specific to your UI.
How to File Weekly Claims
To file your weekly claims in the state of Virginia log on to www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed or go through the Voice Response System (VRS) 1-800-897-5630. Always use a touchtone phone while using the VRS. Keep your social security number, PIN and job contacts ready.
To hear the VRS in English press 1, to hear the VRS in Spanish press 2. To reach your claim and benefits press 1. To file your weekly claim benefits press 2. Then enter your 9-digit social security number. Enter your 6-digit pin. Always remember to speak clearly when speaking to the VRS.
Once you answer all your questions you will be informed whether your claim will be processed or not.
To file a toll-free claim you can call in at 1-866-832-2363 from Monday to Friday between 8:15 am and 4:30 pm (Closed on state holidays). To file weekly claims, call toll free at 1-800-897-5630.
UI Benefit Amount
The calculation of your weekly benefit amount takes several factors into consideration. The UI Benefit Calculator determines the exact amount of your weekly benefits.
Find out what your weekly benefits are using the calculator below.
Things to Know After Filing An Application
All applicants are expected to follow certain rules and regulations, after filing for UI. It is vital that applicants acquaint themselves with the rules and regulations associated with UI. The VEC also provides a range of services to help applicants find jobs and improve your skills to be more competitive in the job market.
Overpayments and Fraud
An overpayment occurs if benefits paid to you are more than you are entitled to. Overpayments can include amounts paid while an appeal by your former employer is pending, prior to a final decision being taken against you. You may also receive overpayments if you did not inform the VEC about UI claims being deposited into your account.
If overpayments of unemployment benefits occur you must immediately make the payment in full. For any reason, if you are unable to pay the full amount you should immediately contact the Benefit Payment Control Unit at (804) 786-8593 to get a repayment installment plan.
Failing to pay your overpayment benefits can result in:
- Deduction of future unemployment benefits
- Wage garnishment, seizing of income tax refunds, levy, and sale of personal property
- The VEC will also use the cost of collection, which covers administrative costs, attorney’s fees, late penalty, and interest that can be charged to you
Fraud takes place when you knowingly falsified information which allows you to collect Unemployment Insurance in Virginia. UI fraud is a punishable offense and you may be prosecuted. You can be disqualified from receiving any future unemployment benefits.
Besides, you may be subject too:
- A fine or imprisonment and be prevented from receiving future benefits for 52 weeks
- You might be required to repay any benefits that you were not entitled to receive
- If your statements are false and you received an overpayment of unemployment benefits, you will be made to pay a 15 percent penalty
- A conviction of fraud is a class 1 misdemeanor
No benefit extension program exists in the state currently. If your unemployment benefits are exhausted, you may be eligible for Virginia unemployment benefits in prescribed high national or state-level emergencies.
Job Training Assistance
The Virginia Workforce Connection provides an array of services to job seekers. The services include writing resumes, cover letters, you can also find information about potential employers in your area.
You can use the career explorer tool to help you understand what is relevant in your field of work, what jobs can you do well in, and what job-related activities you like to do.
You can use several different tools in career explorer such as:
- The match your skills tool helps you understand what personal skills you have, and how they relate to specific careers
- The match your interest tool helps you find activities and occupations that satisfy your interests. The entire process usually takes 15 minutes
- Match your work values helps you find occupations that are in line with your work values
- Match your knowledge of tools and technology helps you to find jobs that are similar to your previous or current job
- The job market explorer tool will help you find a job by analyzing the information you select, such as job your interested in your education and experience you have and the wages you like to earn
You could also use the career informer which helps you with information such as wages, employers, future employment outlook, work activities, and listings for jobs that are available in your area.