RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — While the Virginia Employment Commission has significantly slashed the number of cases for unpaid benefits, 60,000 people are still waiting to hear back if they’ll get the money they say they deserve.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office said the VEC has solved 96% of unpaid claims since his swearing-in. When the governor took office, there were reportedly 24,887 unresolved, unpaid claims. Now, the number is at 1,081 cases.
But what about the people who appealed the VEC’s decision to deny them benefits, who say they deserve money and can prove it? Those numbers tell a different story.
VEC Commissioner Carrie Roth told 8News the first level appeals backlog was 86,546 in January, now the backlog is down to 67,648.
“It was like a sucker punch, after sucker punch, after sucker punch,” said Susan Bailey of Fluvanna County –she has not been able to get concrete answers from a real person at the VEC for eight months. “Nobody would listen to me.”
“I wanted to talk to somebody, at this point I’m getting transferred, I’m getting transferred. I mean, I stayed on hold for six hours,” Bailey said as she explained her efforts to connect with the agency. “Somebody picked up, transferred me. I begged them not to transfer me, they transferred me again and I got disconnected.”
8News has heard many stories of unresolved, and unresponsive issues at the VEC.
Then-gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin promised to clean up shop, and as governor, he hired a new commissioner: Carrie Roth.
Last week, Roth said “We are pleased with the progress of the agency that we have done so far. We have really gotten some clarity, some milestones to keep moving more forward, but I can’t underestimate the amount of work that we still have to do.”
Another outstanding issue at the VEC involves people who were previously overpaid, and now owe the agency money. The money owed amounts to $814 million.
Roth said some of the outstanding money may be waived, meaning some people will not have to pay it back.