The Virginia Employment Commission (“VEC”) handles all aspects of Virginia unemployment benefits, including handling applications and ensuring that only qualified individuals receive benefits. VEC unemployment payments are only available for people who meet all of the VEC’s requirements. It can be tough to figure out whether you will qualify for Virginia unemployment benefits before you take the time to complete and submit an unemployment application. We will try to help smooth out the process by explaining how VEC unemployment works.
Qualifying for Payments
Under Virginia law, you must be either out of work or underemployed. The fact that you are unemployed or not working full time cannot be due to any actions or fault of your own, such as willful disregard for company rules and policies. You must also be physically and mentally able to work and interested in finding a new job to replace the unemployment weekly claim payments you would receive from the VEC. This requirement will automatically exclude people who are not going to look for a job, either because they have “given up” from their job search efforts, are disabled or have otherwise decided to retire.
The third major requirement that potential applicants must meet to receive unemployment insurance benefits is to have earned a certain amount of income during your “Base Period.” Your Base Period is a twelve month time frame (four calendar quarters) that begins after not counting the quarter you are in and the quarter just before it. In other words, do not count the calendar quarter you are in and the quarter just before it. The next four quarters make up your Base Period.
During your Base Period you must have earned at least $2,700 in a minimum of two calendar quarters and at least $3,000 in the single highest earning calendar quarter.
Your Benefits Amount
If you qualify for VEC unemployment benefits, you will receive a minimum weekly payment amount of $54 or a maximum of $378. The amount you are entitled to receive is based upon the amount of money you earned in the two highest earning quarters multiplied by a predetermined multiplier the VEC adjusts from time to time. Virginia law allows you to receive Virginia unemployment benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks, at which time you will have to apply for unemployment benefit extensions through the federal government.
After you begin to receive your VEC unemployment benefits you will be required to file a weekly report of what job openings you have applied for, whether you received any response to applications you submitted and whether you had any job interviews. Furthermore, you will be required to submit a weekly certification stating that you still meet all requirements to stay eligible for VEC unemployment and receive another weekly unemployment claims payment.
Submitting An Application
You can file your unemployment application either through the VEC’s website, over the telephone on the VEC’s unemployment dedicated toll-free telephone line at (866) 832-2363. You can also go to a VEC office (there are several throughout the state according to the VEC’s website) and hand-submit an application.