NewsLocal News


Northam loosens restrictions, expands eligibility for unemployment benefits

Northam on Monday announced a series of changes to unemployment requirements.
Posted at 4:16 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 18:18:38-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov . Ralph Northam on Monday announced a series of changes to Virginia's unemployment requirements and procedures, aimed at aiding Virginians who have lost their job due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Workers from all industries who face reduced hours or lay offs due to COVID-19 can file for state unemployment benefits, and on Monday Northam announced that there will no longer be a one week waiting period between applying and qualifying for unemployment benefits.

A press release detailed that the waived waiting period is an effort to ensure workers can receive benefits as soon as possible.

Additionally, the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits were broadened to include workers whose employer needed to slow down or cease operations due to COVID-19.

If a worker has been issued a notice to self-quarantine and is not receiving paid sick leave or medical leave from their employer, they may now be able to receive unemployment benefits.

Additionally, a worker may be eligible if they have to stay home to care for a sick family member and aren't receiving paid family medical leave.

Gov. Northam has also directed the Virginia Employment comission to give affected workers "special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements."

VEC officials encourage anyone who loses their job or sees their hours drastically cut to file a claim. Still there are certain things VEC officials say are important to consider:

  • You need to wait until the day after your final shift to file a claim
  • If your customary work hours are reduced, you can apply for “partial unemployment coverage”
  • Applications can be submitted online and over the phone, but officials encourage anyone who can to apply online to reduce backlog time
  • Federal legislation that’s pending could soon change how the program is administered and the specifics are fluid
  • Monitor for updated information and a link to apply