Fax machines, calls to the governor, a drive to Charlottesville: One woman’s struggle with unemployment benefits

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Amanda Dacey has gone to some extreme measures to sort out her problems with getting unemployment benefits resumed. Given her situation, she needs to.

“I’m about $7,000 in debt to my family and friends. Without them, I would not be living here. I would have lost my home,” she said.

Dacey is raising her 17-year-old son. She says she can go on for maybe another month.

“My friends have told me that they can’t help me anymore,” she said.

She lost her job in Smithfield in April, and applied for unemployment and was approved. The payments stopped in May. Like others, she was getting nowhere trying to contact the Virginia Employment Commission, so Dacey kicked it up a notch and went to the top.

“I reached out to the governor’s office. I called there several times. I finally reached out to [10 On Your Side]. I called the governor’s office back and told them I reached out to the news, and I got an email about two hours later from the Secretary of Labor’s office,” she said.

But that office wanted Dacey to verify her identity, using the “ID.me” platform.

Eventually, she had to fax her social security card and driver’s license, something she didn’t want to do from an Office Depot or FedEx office.

She found local VEC offices were closed — so she drove to the one in Charlottesville, where VEC was able to fax it to Richmond — sort of.

“The Richmond fax was actually down so they sent it to Galax, and it took them almost two months to get my fax to Richmond,” she said.

Three months after her last benefit payment, Dacey is trying to hang on.

If you have a problem with unemployment, let us know at reportit@wavy.com.

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