Vec unemployment

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) has delayed the rollout of its new unemployment insurance (UI) system a month. The transition was supposed to lead to a site shutdown this week, but that has also been delayed.

VEC posted the update on its website, saying the current system will now be down in late October, as they plan to roll out the new system in November.

Virginia leaders say they want more time for user testing and training to sure everything is in order

“Modernizing the current UI system is a critical part of VEC’s commitment to improving the overall experience of its customers and serves as the foundation of the organization’s mission,” VEC said previously.

While the site is down next month, users will not be able to file new or weekly claims, access their accounts or talk to agents for help.

“During this changeover period, users will be temporarily unable to complete online actions for unemployment insurance. The Customer Contact Center will also be temporarily unavailable during this period” the VEC said.

There will be no changes to how citizens receive benefits during this time.

The VEC says the new system will make the process more user-friendly and faster. Once it’s up and running, VEC will no longer need to rely on mailing important information like PINs.

Leaders say it will also help adjudication officers who are reviewing a backlog of contested unemployment claims.

A specific date for the blackout period has not yet been announced. More information can be found, here.

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Virginia Employment Commission's new Virginia Unemployment Insurance System to go live in November

RICHMOND, Va. - The Virginia Employment Commission's (VEC) new Virginia Unemployment Insurance System (VUIS) will go live in early November.

According to the VEC, the current system will be down in late October to prepare for implementation of the new VUIS.

Appeals functions such as filing an appeal through the VEC website, participating in a scheduled appeal hearing and registering a telephone number for an upcoming appeal hearing will continue without interruption.

Customers will not be able to file initial/additional or reopened claims, weekly claims or obtain inquiries on the IVR (telephone system) during this changeover, as the systems will be taken down in late October to cut over to the new system. The commission's Tax System will also be unavailable during the system changeover.

Related: VEC could have 1 million additional unemployment claim issues to settle

With the new VUIS features, you will be able to:

  • Complete your registration
  • Update your personal information
  • Apply for benefits
  • File a weekly claim
  • View 1099-G tax document
  • Calculate your benefits using the Benefits Estimator
  • View payment history
  • View issues blocking payment
  • Complete fact finding for new issues
  • View correspondence
  • File an appeal

You can view a list of frequently asked questions about the changeover to the new system here.

Click here for more resources from The Rebound.

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Unemployed Virginians report VEC benefits being sent to strange bank accounts

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Author's note: the video above is on file from Sept. 28, 2021.

The Virginia Employment Commission will overhaul its unemployment insurance system in about two weeks, with state leaders promising the shutdown and revamp will fix many existing problems that have plagued the agency throughout the pandemic.

However, some claimants are worried their outstanding issues might be further delayed - caught in the transition

Specifically, more unemployment claimants are reporting an unexpected stoppage of benefit payments after their banking account information was changed without their knowledge, sending their benefits somewhere else.

That's led to longer wait times for payments as the VEC investigates potential fraud.

“I don’t know where that money went," said Angela Steward, an unemployment claimant in Norfolk who said she didn't receive more than $1300 of her final benefit payments. “I would say fraud. It was a fraudulent act.”

The issue seems to replicate reported problems from the spring.

In April, the Virginia Employment Commission disabled its claims filing system to investigate potential fraud, after many claimants reported their banking and personal account information were changed without their permission.

An agency spokesperson said there was “no evidence” the VEC servers or data was compromised or hacked, and the VEC added security measures, like verification.

“We had to sign up for the ID Me program to stop this type of situation, so that they can prevent this from happening," Steward said. "And unfortunately it happened anyway."

Steward said a VEC representative issued her a new PIN and told her the agency is backlogged but her case is pending review. 

She said she was told the VEC would not pay out a correction in benefits until it investigated the incident and determined if there was any fraudulent activity.

“I don’t know if it was an error on their department, I don’t know, they’re not giving me that information, so basically I’m sitting here just waiting," Steward said.

Last month, a state watchdog organization found incorrect benefit payments increased substantially during the pandemic, estimating the VEC issued about $930 million in incorrect or overpayments in 2020, including an estimate of $70 million in fraudulent claims.

Steward is worried next month’s shutdown and revamp of the unemployment insurance system could make people like her an afterthought

“Now they have something new coming in, so of course it’s going to make things longer to be attended to," she said. 

Nationally, the Department of Labor reports new unemployment claims reached a pandemic-low last week, dropping below 300,000 claims filed.


View the latest changes to the benefits application process along with VEC office closings, FAQ's, pertinent news releases and links to other helpful sites on our COVID-19 Resources page.


You can also view this video in:

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) administers the unemployment compensation program that provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own.  Benefits are paid through taxes on employers covered under the Virginia Unemployment Compensation Act.  No part of the cost of your unemployment benefits is deducted from your earnings.

Basic Steps to Qualify for State Unemployment Benefits

(click to learn more)

Filing Your Initial Claim

You can file your initial claim by calling 1-866-832-2363.

Continuing/Weekly Claims

It is your responsibility to file your weekly continued claim on time, each week, while you are receiving benefits. Please understand, filing your weekly claim is different than the initial claim. You will use the online portal to file the weekly claim or call the interactive voice response number.

Contact Information Changes

If your contact information changes at any time, it is your responsibility to notify us immediately at: 1-866-832-2363 or complete the name/address change form: Instructions | Form.

Text Telephone Relay/TTY Callers

For TTY Callers: Virginia Relay, Call 711 or 1-800-828-1120
Virginia Relay enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind, or speech disabled to communicate by TTY (text telephone).

Important Information Regarding Your Claim

Special Circumstance Information and Forms

These forms are to be used only after being directed to do so by a VEC representative.

Other Resources


Unemployment vec

VEC could have 1 million additional unemployment claim issues to settle

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) still has over 100,000 unemployment insurance claims to examine and possibly one million claim issues to resolve, according to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC)'s interim report presented Monday.

Those 100,000 claims are in addition to the 92,000 claims a judge ordered them to resolve before Labor Day thanks to a class-action lawsuit filed in May.

The VEC said they've requested the lawsuit be dismissed since they've completed the backlog of 92,000 claims. The judge's order had put the lawsuit on pause.

However, the JLARC report noted the VEC has not effectively responded to all of the claims and the backlog they face beyond the lawsuit, and the total will likely grow.

Despite the unprecedented number of claims the VEC has received since the start of the pandemic -- which were 10 times more than the volume they experienced in 2019 -- JLARC said the VEC could have been better equipped to effectively manage the increase.

Their findings showed VEC staffing was too low before the pandemic even began.

The VEC has not been able to hire enough adjudication staff -- the staff handling the unemployment cases -- according to the report, and 46% of full-time adjudication positions remain vacant.

The report also said there’s a high turnover rate among VEC adjudicators.

JLARC also found that VEC call centers have only been answering a small portion of incoming calls largely because of insufficient IT systems and lack of call center staff.

Deloitte, a business management consultant company, started helping to manage the call center in August of 2021. They've already added 300 staff members.

A new phone software system is projected to be in place by Oct. 1.

In addition to staffing issues, JLARC noted the VEC uses an outdated IT system and paper-based manual claims process.

The process of updating that system began 12 years ago and it was supposed to have been completed eight years ago.

According to experts, the modernization of their unemployment claims IT should have only taken between three to five years.

Now, the VEC said they plan to complete the system update in June of 2022, but they are rolling out the first new phase on Oct. 1.

But JLARC warned VEC employees just started training on the new system last week -- less than a month before the first phase.

JLARC is concerned that all of the major risks with the roll-out have not been mitigated, including the potential for a five to seven day blackout period when the new system rolls out. This could cause claimants to not be able to access or file their weekly claims during this period.

JLARC's report added the VEC needs to work on their communication with claimants and that the process and eligibility of unemployment insurance is not clear.

One example of unclear communication was brought forward Monday when Lauren Axselle, JLARC's project leader for the VEC review, noted most communication regarding the claims process is at or above a college reading level -- making it nearly impossible for many Virginians to understand how to apply or resolve their claim.

They suggested the VEC revise the unemployment insurance forms, notices and other explanatory documents to more clearly describe the program, eligibility requirements and the application process.

Overall, JLARC's report stated that the VEC’s performance underscores the need for additional oversight and accountability.

Their final report is expected to be released in November or December.


After seven and one-half months waiting for unemployment insurance or pandemic unemployment assistance benefits, I am in dire straits: I am driving dirty, i.e., with no car insurance and an expired inspection sticker, because I have no income.

I cannot communicate with a live person at the Virginia Employment Commission via telephone or email. Six weeks ago, I tried several times to fax documents to the VEC but there was no answer so I mailed the documents. However, I never received any confirmation that the documents were received. My Medicaid case manager shared last week that lack of unemployment benefits is the No. 1 concern for her clients.

It is cruel and negligent that Gov. Ralph S. Northam and other elected officials ignore the suffering of tens of thousands of unemployed Virginians. We need a helping hand from our state and federal governments.

The federal CARES Act gave Virginia money to help unemployed people but we are being kept in a holding pattern while the VEC hires and trains additional staff. U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson’s ruling mandating that the VEC accelerate the processing of Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims hasn’t changed anything. It has been almost two months since I was told that my claim would receive “expedited handling”—two months.

Last week, Gov. Northam spoke compassionately about small businesses struggling because of COVID-19-related circumstances and promised to allocate CARES Act money to help them. Two months ago,

Gov. Northam grudgingly told unemployed Virginians waiting for unemployment benefits payments for months and months to be patient and to work with the VEC.

Shame on Gov. Northam. Shame on Virginia.

I need help.




Now discussing:

VEC delays timeline for unemployment system upgrades: “No one should be surprised”

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)-Upgrades to Virginia’s outdated unemployment system are being delayed until early November, about one month after the long-anticipated Oct. 1 launch date.

That’s also pushing back a temporary shut down of the current system that was expected to begin this week in preparation for the transition. Now, the planned halt is expected to start in late October and last for several days. 

As of Tuesday evening, the Virginia Employment Commission had yet to release a concrete timeline for the start of the modernized system or for the shut down. 

“We are still assessing potential options, but our primary focus is to take a few more weeks to allow for more time on testing and training to ensure the best possible outcome,” said VEC Spokesperson Joyce Fogg in an email on Tuesday. 

During the crossover period, customers will not be able to access inquiries on the telephone system nor file initial, additional, reopened or weekly claims. Appeals hearings and preparations for those hearings will continue without interruption, according to the VEC.

It appears a long anticipated modernization to Virginia’s unemployment system is being delayed until November. The plan was previously expected to go live on Oct 1. A VEC spokesperson just told me a new schedule will be released soon.

— Jackie DeFusco (@Jackie8News) September 28, 2021

The system overhaul has been underway for 12 years and it’s still unfinished 8 years after the original target date for completion.

The project was delayed further at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, during which a tenfold increase in unemployment claims exposed long-standing flaws in the system. 

The new system will add various online features to a self-service portal, allowing claimants to avoid long wait times at VEC call centers.

Secretary of Labor Megan Healy said the decision to push back the launch date was made last Friday. 

“The statewide accounting system for all the state agencies is going live Oct. 1 and the VEC is also in the middle of their annual APA audit. A lot is going on,” Healy said in a text on Tuesday. 

The set back is the latest frustration for claimants like William Bernstein. He said he just recently received more than $2,000 in back pay after initially filing for benefits at the end of July 2021. He said his claim was stalled in the system due to a point of confusion with his former employer but–before the issue was resolved–he struggled to reach the VEC by phone for weeks. 

“They have had all of this time to update the system and honestly to get down to it, it shows leadership doesn’t really care much about those who are unemployed,” Bernstein said. “Leadership needs to get on the ball and get their priorities straight.”

The delay comes after a presentation from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to members of the General Assembly last week raised several concerns about the modernization effort and the state’s ability to stick with its Oct. 1 timeline. 

“Several major project risks have not been fully mitigated and continue to threaten VEC’s UI modernization project, even though the new system launch is fast approaching,” said JLARC Project Lead Lauren Axselle. 

Axselle said the VEC was experiencing difficulties transferring customer data accurately. She also noted that staff training for modernization, which started on Sept. 13, may have started too late. 

Another finding was that the agency hasn’t conducted sufficient usability testing with claimants and employers to identify possible areas of confusion as recommended by experts. Instead, Axselle said the VEC had only conducted this testing with agency staff. 

Asked if the VEC had since expanded user testing, Fogg said,  “I don’t know that we’ve done any. I know they have discussed it.” 

Fogg couldn’t say if the issues with data transferring have been resolved. 

Del. Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville) has been raising the alarm about some of these issues since last year. She said this may have been addressed by a budget proposal she introduced directing Virginia to bring in leading developers in user testing. That amendment was rejected. 

In an interview on Tuesday, Hudson wasn’t surprised by the delay. 

“At this point the state has been ignoring this guidance for more than a year,” Hudson said. “User testing is not an afterthought. You can’t tack it on to the last month of a project. You build good software right along with the people who will use it from the start. So I think we should all be concerned about how realistic the prognosis for the delay is from here.” 

8News asked Gov. Ralph Northam about the delay during his visit to the State Fair of Virginia on Tuesday. 

“We have postponed that because we want to get it right. We have been working on this for a while,” Northam said. “I won’t say it’s going to be perfect but it will be much better than it has been.” 

Northam didn’t directly respond when asked if staff training and user testing should’ve started sooner. 

“The system was literally inundated with more than 1.7 million Virginians and we’re doing everything that we can,” Northam said. 

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