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Virginia announces changes to unemployment insurance program

8 April 2020 Covid19 Luray/Page County Shenandoah County Front Royal/Warren County Winchester Frederick County Clarke County News

The CARES Act provides increased benefits for workers collecting unemployment insurance by $600 for claims effective March 29-July 31. Increased benefits for eligible claimants under traditional unemployment insurance will start to be paid as soon as next week. The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) recently received guidance from the United States Department of Labor and is working to implement needed system changes to distribute payments as soon as possible. Payments to eligible claimants will be retroactive and will be made automatically in conjunction with their weekly claim.

Affected workers, like the self-employed, who are not eligible for benefits under traditional unemployment insurance may be eligible under a new federal program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Workers must first apply through traditional unemployment by visiting www.vawc.virginia.gov or www.vec.virginia.gov. The state will then determine if the applicant may be considered for the PUA program. Those eligible will be contacted by phone with instructions on how to complete a new claim.

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