September 17, 2021

Judge won’t dismiss Virginia lawsuit regarding slow unemployment processing

A judge has chosen not to dismiss a lawsuit against the Virginia Employment Commission for its slow processing of eligibility reviews, deciding that a dismissal would be premature.

Several advocacy groups sued the VEC earlier this year after the department failed to process nonmonetary eligibility cases in a timely manner. When eligibility is questioned, the department is legally required to make a determination within three weeks, but had missed that deadline in 95% of cases. Most reviews took 10 weeks or longer and a few even dragged out for more than a year.

The lawsuit is currently paused after the advocacy groups reached a settlement with the VEC, which required it to increase its adjudication of claims from 10,000 cases per week to 20,000 cases per week by Aug. 1 and end its backlog by Sept. 6. The court has monitored the VEC’s improvements and the department has been required to provide weekly updates.

Although the VEC told the court it had been meeting its obligations earlier than the deadlines provided in the settlement, the advocacy groups noted that tens of thousands of claims had piled up in the meantime and most of the cases are still not being completed within the three-week timeframe.

The lawsuit will continue to be paused and the department will be subject to the deadlines of the settlement.

Unemployment claims skyrocketed to unprecedented levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was the primary cause of the delays. Gov. Ralph Northam approved $20 million in funding to address the backlog, the delays and long term improvements.

This article was originally posted on Judge won’t dismiss Virginia lawsuit regarding slow unemployment processing