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Plaintiffs: VEC Processing Claims Too Slowly

Jahd Khalil

A court filing provided insight into the Virginia Employment Commission’s progress towards resolving tens of thousands of backlogged cases. In a status report released Thursday, legal groups said the pace is not quick enough.

The commission has to go through over 90,000 claims by Labor Day, according to a settlement reached at the end of May. The three legal groups representing unemployment claimants say they think the VEC isn’t going through a backlog of unemployment claims fast enough to keep up with new claims. 

The Legal Aid Justice Center, the Virginia Poverty Law Center, and Legal Aid Works say that the VEC reported it had 40,000 claims left. But they also estimate that 30,000 new claims came into the system.

Delegate Rodney Willett of Henrico County said that his office has many constituents who have had issues getting their claims resolved.

“I know the VEC's working hard on that but absolutely a lot of folks have waited too long to get those benefits,” he said.

Simple unemployment claims have been processed relatively quickly by the VEC, according to the US department of labor. Outdated technology has been an issue for the commission. In May, Governor Ralph Northam told the VEC to spend $20 million on upgrading technology and hiring more people to get through the backlog.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Jahd Khalil is a reporter and producer in Richmond.
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