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Unemployment Compensation for Federal Government Employees Affected by Sequestration

Q.  When should I file my claim for unemployment compensation benefits?
A.  Paper applications should be used for faster processing.  You should submit your paper claim application by U.S. mail to the address below after you have been out of work two full days.  ** If your total hours have been reduced, you should file your claim during the first week the reduction in hours first occurs. Applications returned after the first affected weekwill be made effective the Sunday of the week in which the envelope is postmarked.

Q.  How do I file a claim for Unemployment Compensation if there is a layoff or reduction in work hours due to sequestration?
A.  The location of your federal agency duty station determines the state in which a claim for unemployment benefits is filed.  If you worked in Virginia, your claim should be filed in Virginia and your benefits will be paid by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  If you worked in another state such as Maryland or the District of Columbia, your claim should be filed in that state.  The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) has developed a self-file initial claim application that you can print and complete.  You must answer questions 1 through 17 and complete item 18 based on the best information available to you.  Mail this form to the address shown below.  In addition, you must provide proof of wages earned in federal employment for the period requested such as a copy of your 2012 W-2 form.  YOUR CLAIM CANNOT BE PROCESSED WITHOUT THIS DOCUMENTATION.

Virginia Employment Commission
P. O. Box 1358
Monetary Determinations – Room 200
Richmond, Virginia 23218

Q. What happens after I mail in my application and supporting wage documentation?
A.  Once your application is processed by the VEC you will receive three important documents. The Benefit Rights document will explain your eligibility requirements and what you need to do each week to claim your benefits. The Monetary Determination document will establish how much money you will be eligible to receive. You will also receive a PIN. You will need the PIN to claim weekly benefits and to make inquiries about your claim.

If you are laid off you must begin making an active search for work effective immediately and keep a record of those contacts.  This information will be requested each week when you file your weekly claim for benefits.

Q.  How much money will I qualify to receive?
A.  Depending on your earnings your benefit amount may range from a minimum weekly benefit amount of $54 for 12 weeks to a maximum weekly benefit amount of $378 for 26 weeks. (Refer to your Monetary Determination) 

Q.  How soon before I can expect a benefit payment?
A.  The first eligible week of any claim is a waiting period week for which you are not paid.  Before you are due any benefits, you must be unemployed at least two weeks or have two weeks where your reduced income is less than your weekly benefit amount.  If you are eligible for benefits, a payment should be processed shortly after you claim your second week. You will need to refer to the Benefit Rights document for instruction on claiming weekly benefits. ** Note: All claims will be set up to receive payment by way of a debit card that will be issued to you. However, the Benefit Rights document will advise how the payment can be switched so that it is directly deposited into a bank account.

Q.  What happens if Congress passes legislation and I am reinstated in my job?
A.  If you receive back pay from your agency to cover the layoff period, you must repay any unemployment benefits you received for that time. If you need further information on unemployment compensation in Virginia, you may visit our website at or you may call our Customer Contact Center at 866-832-2363 (8:15am to 4:30pm, Monday - Friday. Closed state holidays).