Understand Benefits Under the Virginia Unemployment Program
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If you have started or will start claiming benefits for unemployment, see the following sections for everything you need to know about Virginia unemployment benefits:
- How to claim unemployment benefits in Virginia
- How is my unemployment benefit payment calculated in Virginia?
- What is the Virginia Workforce Connection program?
- What is the first appointment for?
- What are rural services?
- What benefits are available for veterans in Virginia?
- Can I receive financial aid for classes in Virginia?
How to Claim Unemployment Benefits in Virginia
In order to claim unemployment benefits in VA, you must receive a Notice of Deputy’s Determination from the Virginia Employment Commission and follow its instructions, including registering for any programs for which you were eligible. If you are required to provide follow-up information, a confirmation phone call, or registration, your weekly unemployment claim benefit payment could be delayed or denied. You may take any denial of federal unemployment benefits to an appeal committee that will determine whether you had a justifiable excuse not to provide the information. However, if you meet all the eligibility for unemployment requirements in the Deputy’s monetary determination letter, you will receive your weekly benefit the following week containing benefits for that week and any previous week for which you were eligible.
How is my benefit payment calculated in Virginia?
Virginia state and federal unemployment benefits are calculated using a percentage of your base wages during the previous year, starting the calendar quarter previous to the current quarter. The minimum required wages are relatively small. A few thousand dollars per calendar quarter is all you need to have made to qualify and claim unemployment benefits weekly, which could add up to a minimum of several hundred dollars per month. For example, if you earned $3,000 over two calendar quarters, you would meet the minimum wage requirement in Virginia for receiving benefits. The minimum weekly benefit at this income level would be $60.
Can I file for an unemployment benefits extension?
Generally, VA unemployment benefits extensions are inactive unless the federal government declares a period of high unemployment for Virginia.
What is the Virginia Workforce Connection program?
Right after filing an unemployment benefits claim you will have to register with the Virginia Workforce Connection database, which allows you to search for work opportunities that are available. Your eligibility for unemployment benefits depends on your weekly search. Using the program, an applicant can search for jobs according to occupation, education, skill level, resume criteria, or employer.
What is the first appointment for?
When an applicant receives unemployment insurance in VA, he or she must attend one or several reemployment service meetings. The first reemployment service candidates attend is for helping them determine which federal unemployment benefits programs they eligible for. You will receive a customized assessment of your individual needs that will also be used in developing a reemployment plan. Job search assistance is then further offered through counseling, workshops, testing, job associations, employer referrals and labor market information.
Besides the Workforce Connection system, Virginia also has veterans’ services, rural services, farm workers programs, and a state advocate program.
What are rural services?
A petitioner’s unemployment benefits claim comes with a rural services program. The rural services program facilitates job orders in seasonal and temporary agricultural labor, also helping farm workers and employers participate in the unemployment insurance benefits program.
What benefits are available for veterans in Virginia?
The Virginia Employment Commission provides several programs eligible to veterans. A veteran who qualifies for unemployment can get help with job placement, training, and referral services. If you are currently transitioning out of the military, the VEC offers these services for veterans to use anywhere in the state. As part of its job placement program, it offers a general aptitude test for employability, with practice interviews and skills testing.
Career counseling is also offered for veterans wanting to change jobs. The VEC offices are connected to a network of job banks, and often have free training available for qualified individuals. For example, one program given a grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation is the Truck Driver Grant program, offering paid tuition for veterans getting their CDL. The Virginia Workforce Connection program allows veterans to search for work according to your military occupation.
The Virginia Veterans Career Transition Program is also available for veterans and spouses of active duty individuals, free of charge. The program has three different tracks: 1) professional skills, 2) independent study, and 3) technology. These online classes teach veterans how to use Microsoft Office, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Participants also are able to see an academic advisor, if eligible. When you finish a course, certificates of completion are issued by Syracuse University.
Can I receive financial aid for classes in Virginia?
If you are claiming benefits for unemployment in VA, you may be eligible for a federal Pell Grant or other financial aid for use at community colleges, universities and trade schools. The first thing you have to do is fill out the FAFSA online or at a local college or career center. Some training programs excuse you from having to continue an active job search. However, some training programs require you to continue to search for work and accept reasonable offers.
If you are wondering which kinds of training are eligible, they are defined by the legal Code of Virginia, which requires that the training must be meant to provide work directly related to the training. Also, you must have the current qualifications to take the training, and your current qualifications must not be not enough to secure a job in the future. The training will also need approval by its respective accrediting agency. Typical college general education classes, however, are not eligible.