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Va., using 35-year-old computer system to process unemployment claims, is 5 months behind

Johanna Barksdale
Johanna Barksdale
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About 70,000 people in Virginia, including Johanna Barksdale, are still waiting to collect their unemployment benefits.

“How long have you been trying to get your unemployment with the State of Virginia?" asks 7 On Your Side Investigative Reporter Scott Taylor.

RELATED | 7 On Your Side, literally: Va. woman shows us how long it takes to contact unemployment

“Since July," says Barksdale, who lives in Fall Church.

7 On Your Side has discovered that the Virginia Employment Commission is still using a computer system to process claims that is 35 years old.

“Are you able to tell everybody how far behind you are on claims, right now? We heard in August from some people you were still working on claims from May. Has that improved or are you basically at the same spot?" asks Scott Taylor.

“No. We are right at the first of July now," says Bill Walker, Director of Unemployment Insurance with the Virginia Employment Commission.

Virginia State Senator Bill DeSteph just sent a letter to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam saying “People call VEC 30 times a day. Never get through and get hung up on after waiting for hours."

"And frankly the response has gotten worst not better. We have people who have contacted us in March that haven’t had assistance from VEC. These cases haven’t been adjudicated and the Governor needs to address this and put the appropriate resources there," says Senator Bill DeSteph (R-8th District)

With Federal pandemic unemployment relief ending next month, the struggle will continue.

“I do not see things getting better for us going into next month," adds Johanna Barksdale.

7 On Your Side thanks VEC for responding to some of our viewers who came to us earlier in the year with issues process their claims. Many have been helped but Virginia is 70,000 people away and months behind on helping everyone.

If you have been waiting months for your unemployment benefits and can't get any help please reach out to 7 On Your Side and Scott Taylor.

You can email Scott Taylor at or DM him on Twitter, @ScottTaylorTV.

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Please include the following in all emails:

  • Full legal name:
  • Complete address:
  • Phone number:
  • Email address:
  • Last 4 digits Social Security Number:
  • Name of Labor Dept. where you filed your claim:
  • Claimant ID number:
  • Brief description of issues:
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