Some Virginians meet roadblocks as they apply for unemployment

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RICHMOND, Go. – Some Virginians applying for unemployment find it difficult to navigate the system as applications have increased to record numbers across the country.

Unemployment claims climbed to 6.6 million in the United States for the week ending March 28, the Department of Labor announced in a press release on Thursday.

In Virginia, requests increased 67,287 more than the 46,277 requests filed the previous week.

Ethan Goettsch was fired from his job as a bartender in Richmond on March 16.

“Being unemployed, not being able to live and having to face unemployment is very stressful,” he said.

Goettsch was unsure whether his weekly request was submitted via the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) website over the weekend.

“Trying to deposit this week was horrible and I tried to deposit on Sunday and apparently it didn’t work. So I don’t think I’m going to be unemployed this week, ”said Goettsch.

Audrey Christian attempted to use VEC’s phone number to register her unemployed husband when he was fired from his kitchen work on Tuesday.

“It has been said that one day maybe you could wait two hours. That’s okay, but if it cuts you off, you can’t even queue up to wait, “said Christian.

Christian said the automated system claimed that she entered an invalid social security number.

“After three attempts, he will hang up,” she said.

A CBS 6 viewer called the system “confusing” because it also requires you to obtain a personal identification number to submit your request.

“This system is not configured for this shutdown,” they wrote.

A spokesperson for VEC told CBS 6 on March 23 that the deposits had increased significantly and that the state was doing everything it could to have them deposited and paid people within a week.

They recommended that you go online to fill out a claim rather than call because the wait times are approximately two hours.

In a coronavirus teleconference held by Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), VEC officials said a new call center is planned to help deal with the increase in claims. Additional positions will be added to existing centers.

A request for comment from a VEC spokesperson on the issues was not returned Thursday afternoon.

If you are connecting online, VEC has warned to beware of scams as there are scam sites that will take your information or pay, so be sure to visit vec.virginia.gov or call 866-832- 2363.

Here is who qualifies and when you can apply:

  • One day after losing your job or reducing your hours, you can apply.
  • The governor welcomed the requirement that you look for work to get unemployment, and you should be paid within a week.
Count on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for complete coverage of this important developing story.

Precautions against covid19

Most COVID-19 patients have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can cause more serious illnesses, including death, especially in the elderly or those with chronic health conditions.

COVID-19 is mainly spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of exposure to an infectious person.

Health officials in Virginia have recommended the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if you don’t have soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people and avoid non-essential travel.



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