Common Questions and Answers

You should file for unemployment insurance benefits in the same week you become unemployed. When filing your initial claim, you cannot back date the start date of the claim.

For fast and easy filing, file online using to connect to Virginia’s unemployment benefits system here: is secure, simple to use, and the process takes just minutes to complete. Just have your government issued ID and social security number handy. If you cannot file online, call the customer contact center at 1 (866) 832-2363.

If you have an issue on your claim requiring fact finding, log into UI Direct to provide answers to the required questions, crucial for evaluating your eligibility for benefits. Failure to provide a statement through the online portal will result in receiving a fact-finding questionnaire in the mail. You must complete and return of the fact-finding statements by the deadline indicated on the form.

A deputy will review your completed fact-finding statements along with any information provided by your employer. If additional information is required to determine your eligibility for benefits, the deputy will reach out to you using the phone number or email address you previously provided to the Commission.

When the deadline has passed, for both the claimant and the employer to respond, the case is assigned to a deputy/hearing officer. This deputy will review the information supplied by all parties and render a decision regarding your eligibility or contact you for further information if necessary. As a reference the Department of Labor considers any decision timely if it is made within 21 days from the date that issue was first detected.

The fastest and preferred way to file an appeal is online.

Alternatively, you can mail or fax your appeal to:

Virginia Employment Commission
First Level Appeals
P.O. Box 26441
Richmond, VA 23261-6441
Fax: (804) 786-8492

In-person filing is also an option by visiting a local Virginia Works Office. Find a list of local offices here:

If you disagree with the first level appeals decision, you can appeal to the Commission level appeals. Commission level appeals is the final agency appeal process prior to a claimant or employer choosing to appeal in Circuit Court. The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date the decision was mailed.  The decision shows the final date (deadline) for filing the appeal.

For fast processing, file your weekly continued claim online using Use your account (or quickly create an account) to easily connect to the Customer Self-Service Portal also known as UI Direct.  If you are unable to use the online services, you can certify for weekly benefits using our Voice Response System (VRS) by calling 1-800-897-5630.

If you've lost, forgotten or never received your PIN, go to a Virginia Works Office nearby to request a new one. Bring your Social Security card and ID (driver's license, passport, passport card, or state ID) for verification. The Customer Contact Center can't help over the phone. Find your nearest Virginia Works Office here:

If you are not in Virginia and can't visit a Virginia Works Office, mail a signed request for a PIN resend to:

P.O. Box 26441
Richmond, VA 23261-6441

Include copies of your photo ID, Social Security card, and birth certificate (front and back).

If you suspect fraud or identity theft related to unemployment insurance benefits, or would like to report an overpayment, please complete the Fraud/Theft/Overpayment form. If you are unable to complete the form, an agent may assist you in completing the form by calling 1 (866) 832-2363 For more information on the difference between fraud, identity theft, or overpayments please visit:

Claimants are generally paid within 21 days of filing for benefits. The 21-day time period is the goal set by the U.S. Department of Labor for all states to achieve.  However, some claims may require additional time or review for eligibility. Examples of such instances include verifying wages, addressing incomplete requests for information, and resolving eligibility based on how employment ended for the claimant.

It’s important to respond to all requests for information promptly and remember the first week a claimant is eligible for benefits, is a waiting week/period and no benefits are paid.

If you want to change your payment method with the VEC you can do this by calling 1 (800) 897-5630 voice response system or online or by contacting the Customer Contact Center at 1 (866) 832-2363.

If you are having an issue with your Way2Go card, contact Way2GO at or through their app for mobile phones.

For fast and easy access to UI Direct sign in using Simply click on green “Claimant Login” on the top of this page and select the green button to sign up or sign in using is a tool for verifying your identity. It's secure and user-friendly, and it only takes a few minutes. Make sure you have your government photo ID (like your driver’s license, other state issued identification or passport) and social security number ready. Once your identity is verified, you'll be directed to UI Direct. If you are still having issues accessing UI Direct, review these Helpful Hints for logging in. If you still can’t access UI Direct, call the Customer Contact Center at 1 (866) 832-2363

The Employer Self Service (ESS) portal allows employers to receive timely information concerning claims filed against their company that could influence their unemployment insurance tax liability. It is important that you enroll so that you are in compliance with the law, but it will also serve as a tool to protect your business interest. Employers can respond to claim-related notices and file appeals electronically in ESS.

This ESS Enrollment Guide will walk through the steps to set-up your account:

To get started, visit the Virginia Department of Taxation's website.