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Unemployment claims shoot up fast / April 02, 2020
Jobless claims in Halifax County shot up in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mirroring “a historically large” increase in unemployment across the Commonwealth, the Virginia Employment Commission reported this week.

Virginia saw the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rise by 46,277 people during the week of March 14-21, an increase of 43,571 claimants from the previous week.

“Initial claims measure emerging unemployment and the sharp increase in initial claims in the Commonwealth is clearly attributable to impacts from the COVID-19 virus,” according to the VEC.

In Halifax County, roughly 40 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed during the week of March 21. Two weeks earlier, in the week ending March 7, the number of initial claims in Halifax was seven.

In the City of Danville, initial jobless claims for the week of March 14-21 soared by more than 100 people. The surge in filings comes after Goodyear Tire temporarily shut down its Danville plant, which employs an estimated 1,900 workers.

The VEC said the new jobless claims are the result of plant shutdowns and broad-based layoffs in service related industries, especially food and accomodations.

Nationally, unemployment filings ran 3 million above the norm as businesses curtailed operations and consumers pulled back on their spending in response to the health emergency.

Individuals who have lost their jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic must file weekly claims to receive ongoing unemployment insurance payments.

“If you have filed an unemployment insurance application (UI), you must then file a weekly claim for each week or you will not be paid,” said Joyce Fogg with the Virginia Employment Commission.

She recommends you do this on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday of each week if you remain unemployed and want to be paid for the prior week.

After filing an initial application, idled workers seeking unemployment compensation can complete and submit a weekly UI payment request by calling 1-800-897-5630. Virginia Employment Commission offices are closed to the general public. Fogg also asks for callers to be patient, as the VEC is experiencing a higher than usual call volume.

To file a new claim by telephone, call 1-866-832-2363 Monday through Friday between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The initial filing process takes about 45 minutes to complete. You will need the following information to file your new claim:

» Your Social Security number

» Accurate employer names, addresses, telephone numbers and dates of employment within the last 18 months.

» The name and local number of your local union hall, if you obtain work through a union.

» Your Alien Registration Number if you are not a US citizen.

» If you worked for any non-Virginia employers, you must have an accurate mailing address, phone number, and dates of employment for them.

You will be asked to select a method of payment: VA Debit Card or Direct Deposit. If you select Direct Deposit, you will need to have your bank routing number (first 9 digits located at the bottom of your checks) and your bank account number (5-17 digits, the exact location and number of digits on your account statements and checks will vary from bank to bank).

You can also find more information by visiting the VEC’s website at

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