Unemployed Virginians hoping new claim system will work

Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY/WRIC) — After a week and a half hiatus, Virginians can file their unemployment claims online again. This time they can use a new system that was implemented by the Virginia Employment Commission as part of modernization efforts.

The Virginia Unemployment Insurance System went live on Wednesday evening after a scheduled maintenance period.

It couldn’t come too soon for David Martin of Norfolk.

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He was unemployed for four months earlier this year and has since found work, but says he’s “still behind from being out of work back then.”

“I got approved and got a letter stating how much I would get,” he said, adding it turned out to be $7,800.

Still, he says he has yet to see any benefits.

Martin is one of thousands of Virginians trying to sort out their claims. The new system is known as the Virginia Unemployment Insurance System, and existing claimants will have to create a username and password — but the new system will supposedly retain your profile information from the old one.

It will have a dashboard where you can monitor how much you’ve been awarded, how much has been paid, and how much you have left. The VEC says it will offer better access to key documents. If you haven’t already provided an email or mobile phone number, then you’ll need to call customer service to register for VUIS.

Martin says he’s painfully familiar with the customer service line.

“Usually you can’t get through but every now and then I get through, and all I get is I’m backlogged, that’s all they can tell me,” he said.

Like others who’ve contacted 10 On Your Side, Martin says sometimes he’ll be on hold for a long time and then the line just disconnects.

We asked the VEC specifically Thursday morning about how the agency has addressed the problems with the customer service line. We will update this story with any response.

A statement from the employment commission said that there are more enhancements coming in the future.

“We are extremely proud of the work our team has invested in this effort. We look forward to the improvements this system will provide to our customers,” said VEC commissioner Ellen Marie Hess.

People can find more information about unemployment insurance on the VEC website and can file a claim online through the Claimant Self Service System.

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