The American Rescue Plan and the Unemployment Insurance Program
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021. This legislation continues benefit programs that were established by the CARES Act (March 2020) and the Continued Assistance Act (December 2020)
The Virginia Employment Commission can provide details of this law and how it affects the various programs under the Unemployment Insurance umbrella.
- The VEC will automatically enroll you in the appropriate extension based on the program you are already under (PUA and PEUC specifically). However, if you are notified that your benefit year (BYE) has ended you must file a new traditional claim (UI) to establish a new benefit year.
- You should continue to file your weekly claim for benefits as you normally would as long as you remain unemployed.
- You will not need to contact the VEC in order for these program extensions to take effect. The VEC will mail you a Monetary determination that reflects the increase in eligibility.
Benefit Program Information:
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – This program is offered to individuals who have exhausted their regular state UI benefits. PEUC has now been extended through the week ending September 4, 2021. Entitlement was increased from 24 weeks to 53 weeks.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – This program has now been extended through the week ending September 4, 2021. The maximum number of payable weeks under PUA are increased from 50 weeks to 79 weeks.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) - This program has been extended and will be payable through the week ending September 4, 2021. FPUC continues at $300 per week for qualified claimants and applies to those receiving benefits under the regular UI program as well as PEUC and PUA.
- The Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program. This program will be implemented in Virginia. We anticipate the application for this new program to be available by April 26, 2021. The application will be accessed through Gov2Go. More details will be provided in future updates to this page.
The Commonwealth has taken unprecedented steps to fight the spread of COVID-19 as well as making substantial moves to help those in the workforce who've been affected by this global event.
This page will serve as your online resource to learn about any changes to the benefits application process along with VEC office closings, pertinent news releases and links to other helpful sites.
If you would like to have something included on this page, please contact us
**Important information concerning federal benefits provided for by the CARES Act and other subsequent legislation**
The federal programs authorizing benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Federal Pandemic Emergency Compensation (FPUC) and Mixed Employment Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) will end with the week covering August 29, 2021 through September 4, 2021. None of the above programs will be authorized for payment for any other weeks of unemployment beyond September 4, 2021.
Question: I am receiving benefits from my regular state unemployment insurance program (UI). I qualify for $298 per week for 24 weeks. I am also getting an additional $300 per week under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. This is for a total of $598 each week. Will I continue to receive $598 in benefits for the weeks after September 4, 2021?
Answer: You can continued to file for state regular unemployment insurance (UI) for up to 24 weeks or for as long as you remain unemployed and meet weekly eligibility requirements. In your case the weekly UI benefit amount is $298.
** The FPUC of $300 would no longer be payable since it is a federal program.
Question: I exhausted my regular unemployment benefits (UI) of $298 per week and moved to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which also paid $298 per week. I have been receiving this each week plus $300 in the additional FPUC benefits.
Answer: Benefits under the PEUC and FPUC programs are federally funded and are no longer authorized after September 4, 20021. There would be no additional compensation available to you at this time.
Question: I am receiving benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. I receive $158 dollars each week in addition to the additional $300 from the FPUC program.
Answer: Benefits under the PUA and FPUC programs are federally funded and are no longer authorized after September 4, 20021. There would be no additional compensation available to you at this time.
Question: I have an appeal pending. If the decision is returned in my favor, I will be eligible for weeks of benefits for weeks prior to September 4, 2021. Will I still be able to receive those benefits even with the end of the federal programs?
Answer: If you have an appeal pending and it is resolved in your favor, we would pay you for any of the weeks you had submitted under the state regular UI program or the federal programs like PUA and PEUC. The additional benefit of $300 per week under the FPUC program would also be included. ** Each program named above does carry weekly eligibility criteria that may or may not be covered in the appeal decision.
- Virginia Announces Changes in Unemployment Insurance program as a result of the Federal CARES Act
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
- Extended Benefits (EB)
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is now available under the CARES Act
Click to learn more and how to apply
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan designed to provide direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The program is for any small business with less than 500 employees affected by COVID-19. Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020.
For information about the PPP and to apply for the program, please visit:
Applying for Benefits
- Employers, you can now provide information concerning individuals you have rehired, paid with PPP funding during the COVID-19 pandemic or who have refused an offer to return to work
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is now available under the CARES Act
- Beginning with claims effective March 15, 2020, Governor Northam has directed that the one week waiting period and the requirement to conduct a weekly job search both be suspended for those receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
We've had reports of scammers attempting to defraud users applying for unemployment insurance. Please make sure you are on this site, www.vec.virginia.gov or web.getgov2go.com when applying for benefits.
View OIG Fraud Alert
To file an initial or continued claim, contine to our Unemployment Insurance page
Keep in mind, although some of our offices are closed to the public for health reasons, staff will be available to answer your questions via telephone (except for the Winchester office) during normal business hours. Click on select offices to view contact information and their hours.
View the current list of closed VEC offices
The Virginia Department of Social Services has recently launched a mobile app and website, COVID-19 Virginia Resources, to streamline access to resources and guidance Virginians are in most need of during this crisis. The content is based on information and pathways from a variety of state and federal agencies.
- South Hampton Roads Coronavirus Hotline
The United Way of South Hampton Roads has created a coronavirus response hotline 757-858-7777 and additional resources can be found at their website:
- Work Talk
Work Talk has a special community awareness podcast where you’ll discover how to file unemployment insurance when offices are closed. You’ll learn how to determine if you are eligible for unemployment insurance, what’s next, and the changes that have been made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Listen to the podcast here