Judge signs order requiring VEC to eliminate backlog of claims by Labor Day

If you believe the VEC owes you money, listen up!

The Virginia Employment Commission is now on a court-mandated deadline.

A judge signed an order on Tuesday requiring the VEC to eliminate its backlog of claims by Labor Day.

This comes after a consumer right’s group sued the commission for failing to process claims and get people their money in a timely manner. For some, they said they haven’t received their benefits in weeks.

“Our clients need to get paid, the people like them need to get paid, and they need to get paid yesterday,” Brenda Castaneda told 10 News.

Castaneda is the legal director with Legal Aid Justice Center, who was part of the lawsuit.

Now, those who are eligible will get their payments.

“It doesn’t mean that everybody is going to get a check tomorrow, but yes, they’ve agreed to try to substantially resolve the backlogs by Labor Day,” said Castaneda.

The judge also ordered the VEC to process 10,000 cases per week in July and 20,000 a week in August.

Joyce Fogg, communications manager for VEC, told 10 News they’re speeding up the process by hiring more staff to handle adjudications.

“As an example, in our calls centers we started with 52 staff; and now we’re almost at 500 including the contractor staff,” said Fogg.

They’ll also send weekly reports to the court to show progress.

On top of that, the VEC is being told to find out whose benefits were wrongly cut off and get those people paid.

“We will do our best to meet everything that’s required of us and to make those weekly reportings and get this backlog all cleared up,” said Fogg.

“This is one of those cases where everybody has the same goal, and we needed to agree about how we could meet that goal; and the goal was to get Virginians the benefits that they’re owed,” said Castaneda.

About the Authors:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.