The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) announced the latest data regarding unemployment benefits claims as well as the recently launched Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program.
Since January 2020, more than 1 million initial claims have been filed in Virginia, surpassing all initial claims filed from mid-2014 through 2019. For the filing week ending July 11, the figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 32,292. The latest claims figure was an increase of 467 claimants from the previous week. The 372,070 continued claims is a decrease of 6,537 from the prior week. Currently, the VEC has paid more than $6.2 billion in benefits since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, VEC issued text and voice messages to more than 41,000 individuals identified as potentially eligible for benefits under the PEUC program. On July 2, VEC launched the application portal for Virginians to access the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits program provided by the CARES Act.
This program provides up to an additional 13 weeks of regular/traditional Unemployment Insurance benefits to individuals who have already exhausted their regular Unemployment Insurance benefits. This program applies to claims by individuals whose benefit year ended on July 6, 2019, or after. Payments to recipients recently began and are available through the week ending on December 26, 2020.
Since the initial payments to applicants, which began on July 7, VEC has paid out more than $18 million in PEUC benefits on more than 18,000 claims. Payments can take up to three business days to reach a recipient’s account and will be retroactive, with the first payable week for qualifying applicants under PEUC being the week ending April 4, 2020.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which provides a supplemental $600 in weekly benefits to individuals who qualify for state or federal unemployment benefits, will automatically be added to the weekly benefit amount under the PEUC claim. The final payable week for this $600 weekly payment is the week ending July 25, 2020.
The PEUC program is the latest unemployment benefits program to be implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 10, VEC launched the $600 supplemental payment through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program. On April 19, VEC launched the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits through expanded eligibility for 1099 employees, gig workers, self-employed individuals and other qualifying individuals.
The Virginia Employment Commission also is inviting employers with immediate job openings to participate in Virginia’s first Statewide Virtual Hiring Event scheduled for July 28.
Employers and job-seekers can learn more about the event at https://www.vec.virginia.gov/node/12033, and interested employers may register no later than July 23. Employers should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information and reserve a virtual booth.