Virginia Unemployment Benefit Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Virginia, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be unemployed. This means that you are not working and are not earning any money.
  • Have earned enough wages in covered employment during the base period. The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the quarter in which you file your claim. To monetarily qualify for benefits, you must earn at least $3,000 in two quarters of your base period while in covered employment.
  • Be able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work. This means that you are physically and mentally able to work, you are willing to accept suitable work if offered, and you are taking steps to find a new job.

Weekly eligibility requirements:

  • File your weekly claim on time. You must file your weekly claim within 21 days of the date you filed your initial/new claim.
  • Be able to work and be available to work. You must be able to work full time and be available for full-time work.
  • Be willing to accept suitable work if offered. You must be willing to accept any job that is suitable for your skills, experience, and training.
  • Apply for suitable work when referred to a job by the VEC or your workforce services agency. You must apply for all jobs that the VEC refers you to, unless you have a good reason not to.
  • Report all wages earned for any work, including temporary, part-time, and self-employment, for the week they are earned (not when paid). You must report all income to the VEC, even if it is small or from a temporary job.

Separation requirements:

  • You must have been separated from your employer or had your hours reduced. This means that you lost your job or your hours were cut back through no fault of your own.
  • The reason for your separation must be covered by the Virginia Unemployment Compensation Act (VUCA). The VUCA covers most reasons for job loss, but there are some exceptions, such as being fired for misconduct or quitting without good cause.

If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you may be able to receive unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. The amount of benefits you receive will depend on your wages earned in the base period.

To apply for unemployment benefits in Virginia, you can visit the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) website or call the VEC’s customer service center at 1-866-832-2323.

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