Extended Unemployment Benefits ending in Virginia

Extended Unemployment Benefits ending in Virginia
Virginia Employment Commission (Source: Associated Press)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Employment Commission has been notified that the Extended Benefits Program is ending in Virginia.

It’s a tough blow for job seekers in Virginia as the Virginia Employment Commission just received the news and is now working to notify job seekers who are relying on extended benefits. Those job seekers won’t be paid beyond the end of the week.

It all boils down to the numbers. Last month, the state reported the unemployment rate in the state recently improved. That prompted the federal government to put a stop to those benefits.

”I lost my job,” Preston Roy said standing outside of the Virginia Employment Commission Wednesday.

He was hoping to apply for benefits.

“I’ve been trying to survive for four months with no money at all,” he said.

At the height of the pandemic, so many people flooded the office with the same story. Since March, the commission has received more than 1.4 million claims. To date, $9 billion in unemployment benefits have gone out. Well now, that money has run out on the state level.

The federal government stepped in to offer up to 13 additional weeks of benefits for job seekers. Now, even that is coming to an end.

”You won’t be paid beyond the week ending Nov. 21, which is this week,” Joyce Fogg with the VEC explained. “We had dropped below the 5% threshold which is what you have to have, at least 5% on your insured unemployment rate in order to receive these benefits.”

She says some job seekers have already exhausted all of their eligible benefits but there are others who were expecting those 13 weeks of pay who will now have to settle for less.

”Your weeks may get cut short because of this...We were expecting it to be maybe December but our rate has gone down faster,” Fogg said.

This means the last payable week for extended benefits will be the week ending Nov. 21. The last effective date for an extended benefits initial, additional or reopened claim is Nov. 15.

“My situation isn’t getting any better. I got my bills to get paid and they’re not getting paid. I got a really bad situation I’m trying to make the best of. That puts a lot of weight on my family,” Roy said.

If Virginia’s unemployment rate goes back up, job seekers could then be eligible for those extended benefits again. The employment commission says there are currently 500,000 available jobs on its website right now.

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