Richmond man believes simple issue is keeping him from unemployment benefits: 'What is going on?'

Posted at 12:43 PM, Apr 30, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. -- Hundreds of Virginia residents continue to report problems on getting in touch with the Virginia Employment Comission (VEC) to check on the status of their weekly benefits, which they say have not arrived.

Richmond resident Keith Mitchell is one of those people, and he has been receiving unemployment benefits since last April.

For almost a year, he said things were running smoothly and he received his payments on time every Thursday. But they stopped coming March 17, and he can’t find out why.

“What's going on with my funds?," Mitchell asked. "Why haven't I been getting them? And why can I get through to you guys?”

The father of two said he received a notice in the mail that he’s still eligible for unemployment, but when he goes online to complete his weekly certification, he said he receives a pin error.

"I have funds available, but I just can't get to them," Mitchell explained. "It's a big letdown. I call customer contacts support every single day, and nothing has happened. I even sent an email and they still haven't gotten back with me.”

Mitchell noted he hasn’t been able to get an employee on the phone in six weeks to help or explain his problem.

“Is it a staffing issue?," asked Mitchell. "Or like, what is what is going on? Because I don't understand why I can't. They're saying all agents are always busy. But like, that's all the time all day. So like, what is, what is the issue?"

CBS 6 reached out to the VEC about Mitchell’s case, and asked about current staffing at the agency. We have not yet heard back. The VEC has told CBS 6 in the past that the agency can not comment on an individual case.

Meanwhile, Mitchell said he knows he’s not alone, and he’s finding ways to make ends meet.

But he’s starting to feel hopeless, and believes those funds he says he’s owed may never arrive.

“That's somebody's money right there," he noted. "They're looking forward to that, so it's like, what do I do at this point?”

Mitchell said the most frustrating part of all of this is that he believes his problem could be easily resolved if he could just talk to someone on the phone.