NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) has made strides to knock down some of the backlog that built up over the last two years.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it didn’t just affect people’s health. It also affected their wallets.
An overwhelming number of people in the Commonwealth filed unemployment claims, to the point where the Virginia Employment Commission had trouble handling them all. So, some people couldn’t get their money
"You can't really do anything other than have patience," Ashley Strickland told us back in August as she waited for her claim to be fulfilled.
And some still haven’t.
During his campaign and since he took office Youngkin pledged to fix those problems in the VEC.
His first move? Firing and replacing the head of the commission.
RELATED: VEC commissioner out of the job
Now, he says they’ve reduced nearly 89% of the backlog
Youngkin's office said, as of Jan. 15, the backlog of employment separation reports has been reduced by nearly 89% from 246,273 to 27,728 and unpaid pending claims have been reduced from 24,887 to 15,846.
According to Youngkin's office, the VEC’s main focus has been on eliminating that backlog, improving communications at the agency and doubling down on training.
“There is a tremendous amount of work to be done to refocus on our customers, the individuals and employers, and get them the resources they need,” Commissioner Carrie Roth said in a statement.
Back in July, a state commission told Virginia lawmakers that, according to data, VEC staff members only answered a small minority of calls from unemployed workers.
They also said there was a significant turnover in staff that led to the large backlog of claims.
Now, Youngkin's office said even with the progress they’ve made, there is still work to be done.
If you are one of the 16,000 who still have an unpaid pending claim, the commission is still encouraging Virginians to send an email or give them a call.