Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance in Virginia


Determining eligibility for unemployment in Virginia is under the responsibility of the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). The commission decides who qualifies for unemployment based on three main criteria. If an applicant meets all of the requirements, they will receive temporary monetary assistance while they actively seek new employment. Although most states have similar qualifications for unemployment benefits, they typically vary in income requirements. Unemployment benefits are covered by taxes under the Virginia Unemployment Compensation Act. Your unemployment insurance eligibility is based off the aforementioned act and certain federal standards. To find out how to qualify for unemployment in Virginia, continue reading about the requirements below.

What are the requirements to get unemployment benefits in Virginia?

To understand who qualifies for unemployment benefits in Virginia, you must know the base requirements. Firstly, you must be unemployed or partially unemployed due to lack of available resources or hours at your previous workplace. You are not eligible for unemployment if you were fired for misconduct or for any other reason that makes you the one at fault for your loss of employment. Below are the main qualifications for unemployment as is described by the VEC:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident of the United States.
  • You must meet the monetary qualifications.
  • You must have been separated from your former employer through no fault of your own.

Citizenship and Residency

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Virginia, you must provide a valid Social Security Number or proof of residency. The VEC thoroughly checks an applicant’s Social Security card and other forms of identifications to confirm identity, citizenship status and employment status. Similarly, a proof of residency serves as a form of identification that confirms legal residency and employment history. To be eligible for unemployment in the state of Virginia, the VEC may also require you to have lived within the state for at least six month or the entirety of the base period. Individuals from out of state may still qualify for unemployment benefits but must include supplementary information to be eligible. Learn more about these requirements by downloading our free and comprehensive guide today.

Monetary Qualifications for Benefits

When asking, “What are the requirements to get unemployment?” be aware that your ability to get unemployment benefits relies on how much you have worked and how much money you made before becoming unemployed. Monetary qualifications for unemployment benefits are based on your previous earnings during the regular base period. The VEC uses the information about your previous wages to decide your eligibility for unemployment benefits and how much unemployment assistance to allot you if you qualify. If you do not meet the regular monetary qualifications, there is also the options to use the alternate base period to be eligible for benefits. To qualify for unemployment, you need to have made a sufficient amount of money during the base period and worked enough time in the commonwealth of Virginia. Individuals who have worked out of state for part of the base period must follow a slightly different set of rules when applying, but they may still be eligible for benefits in Virginia if they reach the monetary requirement.

Separation Qualifications for Benefits

To meet eligibility for EDD benefits, you must become unemployed under specific circumstances that have nothing to do with your performance or behavior at work. To qualify for unemployment benefits you must become unemployed through no fault of your own. For example, if the company you previously worked at goes out of business or downsizes and needs to make job cuts, then you can qualify for benefits. However, employees who have been fired for harassment, poor work ethic or malpractice of any kind will not meet eligibility for unemployment benefits in the state of Virginia. More information on which forms of unemployment qualify you for unemployment benefits is available in our free online guide here.

What are the weekly requirements for unemployment benefits in Virginia?

The qualifications for unemployment require you to maintain an eligible status in order to continue receiving benefits. You need to a file a claim every week to be continuously eligible for unemployment benefits and show that you are actively seeking new employment. The VEC has its own employment search site and offers access to state and federal employment sites for applicants to take advantage of. To consistently retain eligibility for unemployment, the VEC must see that you are applying to suitable positions and that you accept all appropriate work offers whether temporary or long-term.

An individual who qualifies for unemployment must consistently update his or her information on the unemployment application and report any additional income he or she may have received in the time between claims. This includes income from odd-jobs, freelance work, temp work, retirement checks, pension checks and more. To maintain eligibility for unemployment benefits, you must also report any holiday, vacation or severance pay that you may still be receiving from your previous employer. Because the VEC determines who qualifies for unemployment, you may also be required to call them directly for weekly re-application check-ins.

Virginia Employment Commission