18 guilty pleas of unemployment commission fraud in VA

extended benefits program

Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares announced yesterday 18 guilty pleas to charges of obtaining money by false pretenses between March 2023 and June 2023.

A total of $212,080 was ordered in restitution to compensate got unemployment funds received from the Virginia Employment Commission due to fraudulent filings during the pandemic.

Attorney General Miyraes said, “I am proud of the work my Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit and our law enforcement partners do to ensure that those who attempt to abuse Virginia’s unemployment compensation systems are held accountable for their wrong and illegal actions.”

The guilty pleas follow the VEC’s March 2022 request for help of the AG Miyares to help prosecute fraudulent claims.

The announcement was made in result of a collaborative effort between numerous state agencies including the VEC and the Virginia Office of Attorney General Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit.

Departments conducting the investigations included the Virginia Marine Police, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the Virginia State Inspector General.

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Virginia unemployment claims near historic low

extended benefits program

The Virginia Employment Commission announced the number of continued unemployment claims has decreased again and remains at pre-pandemic levels.

Seasonally unadjusted weekly initial unemployment claims remain near a historic low as claims fell substantially again from the previous week.

Virginia’s weekly initial claims is currently at 827 with most of those coming from the fields of administration and support, waste management, health care, and social assistance.

The total continued weeks claimed sits at 9,834 which is 182 less claims than last week and 74% lower than last year.

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VA. unemployment rate stays below the national rate

extended benefits program

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced in an email that Virginia’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.3 percent in January.

That rate is 1.5 percentage points below the rate of a year ago.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate which rose to 4.0 percent in January.

The labor force increased 16,461 to 4,277,757 as the number of unemployed decreased by 1,892 to 139,261.

In the governor’s words his administration is “committed to boosting economic growth, creating jobs, attracting business and lowering the cost of living for all Virginians.”

The Virginia Employment Commission added in the email  that January’s private sector gained 83,440 jobs.

Employment gained 6,400 jobs in the private sector in January according to the email as well.

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Gov. Youngkin reduces VEC issues

An email from Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that his executive team has reduced the Virginia Employment Commission’s issues by 89 percent.

The team focused on eliminating the backlog of the employment separation reports and unpaid pending claims.

The email reports that the backlog has been reduced by as much as 89 percent.

The governor reiterated in the email his desire to have all Virginia agencies refocus on the customer to get Virginians the resources that they need.

Youngkin acknowledged that there is a tremendous amount of work to be done to accomplish that goal.

Virginians or employers with questions about unemployment claims are encouraged to visit Virginia Employment Commission’s website. 

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Live, Love, & Work in Virginia Virtual Hiring Event

3 Days, 3 Regions, 3 Opportunities for Employers and Job Seekers to Connect.

March 9th, 10th and 11th, from 1pm to 5pm Each Day.

Employers & Job Seekers Can Register Once for All Three Days.

  • March 9th: Shenandoah Valley & Northern Virginia – Local Areas Include (Fredericksburg, Prince William, Alexandria, Fairfax, Arlington, Winchester, Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, and surrounding areas).
  • March 10th: Southwestern & South Central Virginia – Local Areas Include (Lynchburg, Roanoke, Bristol, Wytheville, Martinsville, and surrounding areas).
  • March 11th:  Greater Richmond & Hampton Roads – Local Areas Include (Richmond, Williamsburg, Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Petersburg, and Surrounding Areas).

Employers Can Register Today at:  http://tinyurl.com/LLWVA2021e

Job Seekers Can Register Today at: http://tinyurl.com/LLWVA2021j

Job Seekers are Strongly Encouraged to Post a Resume or Summary of Experience.

www.vec.virginia.gov

 

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Northam order aims to speed up complex unemployment cases

extended benefits program

By Associated Press | Published May 19, 2021 7:10 a.m.

By SARAH RANKIN

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Following months of complaints from laid-off workers, Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday he was taking steps to expand the Virginia Employment Commission’s ability to process complex unemployment claims.

While data show Virginia has done quite well in quickly processing simple unemployment benefits for eligible individuals as applications surged amid the pandemic, the state has recently been dead last for timely processing of certain claims that require additional adjudication.

In a directive signed Tuesday, Northam wrote that “we must do more to ensure that Virginians’ unemployment benefit claims are resolved in a timely manner and that those who are eligible for benefits receive them quickly. VEC must have access to and mobilize additional staff and funding to carry out this critical role.”

The order directs the commission to increase the number of adjudications being processed per week from 5,700 to 10,000 by June 30, and to 20,000 by July 31.

In a news release, Northam’s office said that would be done in part by finalizing a $5 million contract for over 300 additional adjudication officers. The directive also tells the commission to work with the state’s human resources agency to identify non-VEC state workers who can temporarily assist.

It further orders the commission, which uses a 41-year-old benefits system, to complete a modernization project to launch a new system by October. And it directs the agency to hire staff and upgrade and enhance technology to improve call wait times.

Complaints from Virginians unable to get through to customer service call centers in a timely way — or at all — have been widespread over the past year.

The governor’s announcement came on the same day a judge was holding mediation talks in a federal lawsuit filed last month over the processing delays.

The lawsuit alleged the commission had violated the rights of Virginians who had either applied for benefits and gotten no response or who had their benefits abruptly halted and faced lengthy delays in having their case adjudicated.

Jeff Jones, a spokesman for the Legal Aid Justice Center, one of the firms representing the plaintiffs, said the parties had reached an agreement Tuesday, which the judge still must approve. If approved, he said the judge was expected to enter an order later in the week that would put the lawsuit on hold while the commission worked to meet the order’s terms.

“This is a really good step in the right direction,” he said.

Megan Healy, Northam’s chief workforce development advisor, said that while the legal process remained underway, the administration was hopeful for a positive outcome.

Asked if the changes Tuesday’s directive will implement had come quickly enough, Healy emphasized the enormous challenge the past year had presented, with both a surge in applications for benefits and a slew of new federal programs to implement. She said the directive had been in the works for a couple of weeks.

(All contents © copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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Job search rule for unemployment benefits returning in June

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By Associated Press | Published Apr. 21, 2021 7:05 a.m.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Jobless workers collecting unemployment benefits will be required to report looking for work beginning in early June, the Virginia Employment Commission announced Tuesday.

The work search requirement, part of state and federal law, was suspended during the pandemic. The commission announced earlier this month that it would be reinstated, and on Tuesday gave the effective date: the week ending June 5.

“Claimants must search and report two job searches per week,” commission spokeswoman Joyce Fogg wrote in an email.

The requirement will also apply to people who get Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Virginia Employment Commissioner Ellen Marie Hess said earlier this month that the requirement is coming back as demand for workers rises and as vaccines become more widely available.

(All contents © copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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VEC offers 3 day online hiring fair

virtual hiring event

Both employers and job seekers are invited to register for a 3 day virtual job fair and hiring event.

Set for Mar. 9 through the 11 from 1 to 5 p.m each day.

There will be job opportunities from 3 different regions of Virginia.

Job seekers are encouraged to post a resume at the time of registration.

You will find full details from Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) here.

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VEC extends benefits for pandemic compensation

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) announced the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extension.

The VEC’s press release has two groups for tomorrow’s extension which include.

Group I: PEUC claimants who have exhausted their initial 13-week benefit and have claimed weeks through 12/26/20 will have the additional 11 weeks automatically added to their claim and need not take any further action except to continue filing weekly claims.  Payment for weeks claimed beginning with the week ending 01/02/21 will be automatically released on 02/09/21 and customers should receive payment as early as Thursday 2/11/21.

Group II: PEUC claimants who are not able to file a weekly claim because they do not meet the criteria of Group I must file a new PEUC 2021 claim.  The application will be available starting at 4 p.m. on 02/09/2021.  Claimants can complete the application by going to getgov2go.com (available on mobile devices) and creating an account (if they do not already have one) or by calling 1-866-832-2363.  A claimant can start claiming weeks for payment once their application has been processed, usually in 1-2 business days.  Customers will need their personal identification number (PIN) to file their weekly claim by calling 1-800-897-5630 or they can file weekly claims at getgov2go.com.

Filing begins tomorrow Feb. 9 at 4 p.m..

This is the final component of the Federal extension which provides 11 additional weeks of benefits.

You can access your account at getgov2go.com with VEC extending call center hours on Tuesday for support at 800-897-5630.

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