Filing for, receiving and staying in the Virginia Employment Commission’s (VEC) good graces is a mixed bag.
To apply for Unemployment Benefits, you go to the Employment Commission’s web site. It took a while to figure that out. Once discovered, it’s a pretty easy process. Give them your bank routing number and account number, last day of work, severance information, etc. and they snail-mail you instructions for filing weekly and an all-important PIN.
I didn’t receive a PIN within the first week, so I had to call. I needed to talk to people, not the stupid phone tree! Selecting the option that results in an actual live person picking up your call is an art. Sometimes, pressing zero is all you need to do; these folks haven’t updated their software or hardware in a long time. Unfortunately, Virginia is up-to-date on their phone tree software.
When I finally did get a real honest-to-gosh person, she helped me immensely by filing my first week’s claim over the phone and re-sending me the letter with the PIN. The all-important letter – including the PIN – arrived two days later.
The maximum benefit Virginia is ~$370.00 per week or ~$1,480.00 per month. Nowhere near replacing an experienced Data Analyst’s salary. You can elect to have taxes taken out or not. I elected to have taxes taken out, which brings my take-home benefit to ~$340.00 per week or ~$1,360.00 per month.
In order to receive this generous benefit that my employers and I have been paying into for my entire career, I must answer a range of questions each week about availability for work, whether I didn’t get a job because of a pee test, any severance or vacation pay received, whether I worked for someone else of was paid for work I did on my own and I must list at least two employers I contacted / applied to during the week. They do a random check on these, they say.
In addition, I must register on the Virginia Employment Commission’s web site and, if they send me a job, I must apply for it. This web site is the most unwieldy I’ve ever seen. I’m just looking for jobs – not career advice, not help with my resume. I have a “dashboard” that indicates I’ve completed zero percent of just about everything. In order to get above zero percent, I need to re-key my resume (there is no provision to upload one) and answer tons of questions about my skills that I’ve already answered on LinkedIn (there is no provision to use a LinkedIn profile). I save my typing for filling out applications and leave my dashboard at all zero’s.