Coronavirus leads many people to file for unemployment insurance in Virginia

The unemployment offices are closed right now due to the coronavirus, but you can file claims...
The unemployment offices are closed right now due to the coronavirus, but you can file claims online or by calling. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Mar. 19, 2020 at 5:25 PM EDT
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Businesses across the Shenandoah Valley are having to close their doors temporarily as coronavirus concerns continue to grow. The Virginia Employment Commission is trying to help.

"This week, we have seen a dramatic increase on claiming insurance applications," William Walton, the Unemployment Insurance Director for the Virginia Employment Commission, said.

Whether you are out of work or have had your hours cut back substantially, Walton said you should file a claim for unemployment insurance.

"What I don't want folks to do is think, 'well, I'm not going to qualify, so I'm not even going to file,' and then they get three weeks down the road, and they may qualify and may have lost out on benefits they're entitled to," Walton said.

People who file could receive benefits for as long as 12 to 26 weeks.

"And for $60 to $378 per week, based upon your earnings over the base period, which is roughly the last calendar year," Walton said.

After you file, you should be on the lookout for information on your monetary determination, which will tell you how much and for how long you can draw on unemployment insurance. You will also get information about the unemployment insurance program, detailing what you have to do each week. You will also get a personal identification number you will use during that time.

With the increase of people being out of work due to COVID-19, Walton said VEC is stepping up to the challenge.

"Our IT folks are on top of it in case we do have any down time to bring things back up again. We've manned our call centers, increased their hours," Walton said.

You may experience some delays, but he says you should keep trying.

Those who have internet access are encouraged to file claims

, as call volumes have been very high.