VEC brings suffering to thousands of unemployed
7/22/2021, 6 p.m.
After seven and one-half months waiting for unemployment insurance or pandemic unemployment assistance benefits, I am in dire straits: I am driving dirty, i.e., with no car insurance and an expired inspection sticker, because I have no income.
I cannot communicate with a live person at the Virginia Employment Commission via telephone or email. Six weeks ago, I tried several times to fax documents to the VEC but there was no answer so I mailed the documents. However, I never received any confirmation that the documents were received. My Medicaid case manager shared last week that lack of unemployment benefits is the No. 1 concern for her clients.
It is cruel and negligent that Gov. Ralph S. Northam and other elected officials ignore the suffering of tens of thousands of unemployed Virginians. We need a helping hand from our state and federal governments.
The federal CARES Act gave Virginia money to help unemployed people but we are being kept in a holding pattern while the VEC hires and trains additional staff. U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson’s ruling mandating that the VEC accelerate the processing of Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims hasn’t changed anything. It has been almost two months since I was told that my claim would receive “expedited handling”—two months.
Last week, Gov. Northam spoke compassionately about small businesses struggling because of COVID-19-related circumstances and promised to allocate CARES Act money to help them. Two months ago,
Gov. Northam grudgingly told unemployed Virginians waiting for unemployment benefits payments for months and months to be patient and to work with the VEC.
Shame on Gov. Northam. Shame on Virginia.
I need help.