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New Virginia center to help more people file unemployment claims

Posted at 3:03 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 17:15:29-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia is opening a new call center to handle the unprecedented amount of calls from laid-off workers looking to file for unemployment benefits.

“There have been reports that Virginians are having difficulty getting their unemployment benefits,” Governor Northam said at his Friday press conference. “I'm pleased to announce that we are opening up a new call center with 315 additional employees to help handle those requests.”

More than 720,000 people have filed for unemployment in Virginia, the governor shared. That includes 44,000 new claims in the last week.

Issues persist with antiquated Virginia unemployment system

More than two months after the coronavirus pandemic started forcing Virginia businesses to slash their workforces, the state’s unemployment system still can’t keep up with the deluge of calls and emails from laid-off workers who need help.

Virginians across the state continue to report that it’s nearly impossible to reach anyone with the Virginia Employment Commission by phone.

People instead have turned to social media, legal aid centers or their elected officials for help troubleshooting.

Virginia Employment Commission spokeswoman Joyce Fogg acknowledged problems with the phone lines and said the agency has done its best to add staff to accommodate the unprecedented demand.

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Virginians face obstacles trying to receive unemployment benefits