Richmond woman, knocked out by COVID last year, still waiting for benefits from VEC

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 18:24:42-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- While the avalanche of unemployment claims in the Commonwealth has diminished from the height of the pandemic, viewers continue to contact the CBS-6 problem solvers about their struggle to get through to the Virginia Employment Commission.

That includes a Richmond woman who was in the hospital with COVID last year and nine months later, is still waiting for answers from the VEC.

“I spoke with a representative initially, and it seemed like it would be easy process,” said Kamara Horton, who works in a dental office. “But after a couple of weeks, a couple of months, I was just given the runaround, my file, my case was apparently getting lost.”

Horton is frustrated: when Covid knocked her out of the workforce last August, she ended up in the hospital twice and in quarantine for 34 days.

When she finally recovered ten weeks later, she went back to work. That was in late October.

And that's when she applied to the Virginia Employment Commission for the wages she'd lost. But like many claimants we've spoken to, she found it impossible to get answers from the VEC about her situation.

“I finally reached a really wonderful representative, in between the ones that were not so pleasant to interact with,” Horton said. “She essentially told me, and this was now in the new year, January, that she had to apologize, because she wasn't sure why I was given the wrong information. Because I applied for my benefits after the date that I returned, I also had to start an appeals process that I was unaware of. And that's when it just it got really, really bad.”

Horton is now desperate to clarify the appeals requirement, and says she has no choice but to keep calling.

“I'd call on my lunch break,” said Horton. “I call before work, and if I have a moment during the day I call them. It's just been it's been really frustrating. I have not been able to speak with an actual human being. There is another number that you can call for the appeals that I was able to get a few months ago, and it doesn't even ring once when you call.”

After I contacted VEC spokeswoman Joyce Fogg about Horton’s situation, a representative reached out to her late this week and Horton says she's cautiously optimistic.

Horton says resolving her claim would go a long way to paying her medical bills. After she got Covid, she underwent several emergency surgeries early this year before getting Covid a second time last month.

We'll let you know what happens with her VEC claim.

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