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VEC plans to make benefit extensions for unemployed workers 'up and available' in next two weeks

Many workers whose benefits expired as the economic crisis arrived, continue to wait for unemployment assistance outlined in the CARES Act.

NORFOLK, Va. — The Virginia Employment Commission said it's working on processing extensions of benefits for unemployed workers whose payouts expired as the economic crisis began. 

The CARES Act provides for an additional 13 weeks of benefits for these workers. Many have waited 6 weeks or longer to receive assistance, with little to no information from state agencies.

“It boggles my mind that it’s taking this long," said unemployed counselor Claire Coddington. “There are a lot of people out there who are struggling with this.”

A VEC spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the agency has handled a massive increase in unemployment claims in three tiers, in order:

  1. Traditional unemployment benefits
  2. PUA Application for self-employed workers and independent contractors
  3. Extensions of expired benefits

RELATED: Virginia unemployment claims decline for fourth straight week

“It just seems like maybe this tier is not as high a priority as the ones who just got laid off," Coddington said. “It seems like a pretty dire situation for myself and for other people who need their benefits extended and whose job search has been stifled."

The VEC reports it is tracking workers who are eligible for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, but the spokesperson said the agency does not know if it will need an additional application from workers - like the PUA program - or if VEC already has enough information to process the benefit extensions.

Meanwhile, unemployed workers seeking benefits continue to wait for assistance and further communication from VEC. 

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