Anyone that has been laid off from their place of employment due to facility closings or reductions in force from COVID-19 should file a claim for unemployment insurance through the Virginia Employment Commission. You will need the following information to file an initial claim:
- Your full Social Security Number
- The accurate employer names, addresses, telephone numbers and dates of employment within the last 18 months.
- The name and local number of your local union hall, if you obtain work through a union.
- Your Alien Registration number if you are not a US citizen.
- If you have any Non-Virginia employers you must have an accurate mailing address, phone number, and dates of employment for them.
- You will be asked to select a method of payment: VA Debit Card or Direct Deposit. If you select Direct Deposit, you will need to have your Routing Number (First 9 digits located at the bottom of your checks) and your Account Number (5-17 digits, its exact location varies from bank to bank).
There are two ways to accomplish this:
- The best and fastest way to file is online through http://www.vawc.virginia.gov.
- The phone number to the call center for initial claims processing is 1-866-832-2363. Due to the overwhelming number of claimants with the COVID-19 outbreak, the call center is experiencing longer wait times than usual.
Unemployment Insurance legislation is changing daily and we will update this website with further information to us as it comes. As of now, Governor Northam has announced the following:
- No waiting for unemployment benefits. The one-week waiting period has been waived to ensure workers can receive benefits as soon as possible.
- Enhance eligibility for unemployment. Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19. If a worker has been issued a notice to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official and is not receiving paid sick or medical leave from their employer, they may be eligible for unemployment benefits. In addition, a worker may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they must stay home to care for an ill family member and are not receiving paid family medical leave from their employer.
- Fewer restrictions. The work search requirement for individuals affected by temporary closures or reductions in force due to COVID-19 has been waived.
A Frequently Asked Questions page has been set up through the Governor’s office for workers with questions regarding their individual situation and employment.