Hampton man must wait two months to get unemployment over $45 debt


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — “Approved” doesn’t always mean what you might think, at least not right away.

Newt Smith III, of Hampton, applied for unemployment benefits shortly after his March furlough from the Holiday Inn at Oyster Point in Newport News. He was approved and got his PIN number, and was ready to start getting weekly direct deposits.

“I started doing my weekly call-ins for the benefits and hadn’t received anything,” Smith said, “so I called the Hampton office and they said I owed like $300,” he said.

It turned out that Smith had been overpaid for a claim last year by two weeks, so he owed the Virginia Employment Commission the $300. He says that’s when he realized “You’re not gonna get your money until they get their money.”

And states have ways of getting their money, like it or not.

So, Richmond seized his tax refund of $255 leaving his debt to the VEC at just $45. But he remains “red-flagged” and will have to wait until the last week of June to see any payments.

Smith has called his local unemployment office to plead his case so many times that “they know me by first name,” he said.

He must wait two extra months before he sees the payments that the state originally said he was qualified to receive and can’t understand why the VEC doesn’t simply deduct the $45 from his first payment and begin the payments now instead of late June.

10 On Your Side is connecting Smith with the staff of state Sen. Bill DeSteph, (R-Virginia Beach). We’ve heard from other people getting help from that office when they were having problems with unemployment benefits.

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