Unemployment Insurance Benefits in Virginia


To claim unemployment benefits in Virginia, you must complete an unemployment claim and submit it to the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). You can submit your unemployment benefits claim by mail, in-person or online through the VEC website, which is the most efficient method. Once your application has been processed and approved, you will need to wait an additional week, called the “waiting week,” before you are finally allotted your benefits. Continue reading below to learn how to claim unemployment benefits after your application is approved and how federal unemployment benefits are allotted, what determines your allotment amount and how to continuously receive benefits.

What unemployment benefits are provided in Virginia?

Before filing an unemployment benefits claim, you should be aware of the benefits you will receive if your claim is approved. When claiming benefits for unemployment, you will receive temporary monetary compensation to help you sustain your standard of living as you seek new work. You will have the option of receiving these benefits on a VEC debit card or having the allotment directly deposited into your bank account. To get claim unemployment benefits as soon as possible, choose direct deposit on your application and enclose your routing number and bank information. It will take two business days after your weekly unemployment benefits claim has been approved for the money to become available in your account. In addition to monetary benefits, the VEC provides job resources, skill workshops, resume building assistance, relevant marketplace information and the opportunity to make connections with potential employers.

Once you claim your unemployment benefits, you will be required to actively search for new employment to continue to qualify for benefits. This is made easier through the VEC’s Virginia Work Connection (VAWC), which is a job search resource that helps connect employers with qualified employees. This service and the multitude or resources offered by the VEC are all additional benefits available to those claiming unemployment benefits in the state of Virginia and should be utilized to their full potential to help you quickly secure work.

What determines the amount of benefits you receive in Virginia?

When you are filling out your unemployment benefits claim, you will be required to provide the amount you earned during the last base period you worked. The amount you provide in your unemployment claim will determine the amount of your benefit allotment and how long you will be able to receive benefits. You will need to provide all the appropriate information to prove that the base period for your employment and earnings is accurate. Do not include any false information on your unemployment benefits claim to try and increase your benefit allotment. The VEC thoroughly checks every application and will be able to determine whether or not you are being truthful in your application.

If you do not qualify to claim unemployment benefits using the regular base period, you will be allowed to use an alternative base period to calculate your earnings. You can put the information for either base period in your unemployment claim and that will be the amount used to calculate your proper allotment and the duration of your benefit year. Your benefit year can either be a complete year or half a year depending on the information you provide for your base period. Learn more by downloading our free guide today.

How do I continue to receive benefits in Virginia?

To receive an unemployment benefits extension, you will need to continuously file weekly claims with the VEC for each week you wish to receive benefits. After your first benefit week has passed, you will need to file another unemployment claim as soon as possible to continue receiving federal unemployment benefits. In order to keep claiming unemployment benefits, you must also maintain your eligibility status. This requires you to disclose all of your earnings for the weeks you worked or received a supplementary income. Earnings that should be reported include additional income form odd jobs, vacation pay offs, severance pay, pension and retirement checks, and government assistance programs not including your unemployment benefits. If your combined weekly earnings surpass the amount of benefits you receive from the VEC, your benefits will be cancelled.

To continue claiming unemployment benefits, you must also sign up for the VAWC to show proof that you are actively seeking employment. The VEC will also require you to accept all suitable job offers from employers on the VAWC or other job resources because being willing and prepared to accept appropriate work is also an eligibility requirement. When you file your weekly unemployment benefits claim, be aware that you will need to wait a week before your allotment is available on your VEC debit card or in the bank account connected to your VEC unemployment claim. You will also need to provide your PIN and account number when you file your weekly claim to continue receiving benefits through your preferred channels. If you have any questions regarding your unemployment benefits claim and what you need to include in your weekly benefits claim, you can read our helpful Virginia unemployment benefits guide available, here.

Virginia Employment Commission