Virginians have filed almost as many claims for unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic as they have in the last five years, state officials announced Thursday.
Officials with the Virginia Employment Commission said during a media call that more than 800,000 people filed initial claims in the last 12 weeks. During that time, efforts to contain the virus had shut down much of the economy.
About 75% percent of claims have resulted in payments from the state employment commission, state officials said. The reasons why some people haven't gotten paid range from people filing incorrect information on their application to their employers reporting that they were fired for misconduct.
About 91% of people who were eligible to receive money got it within 14 days, officials said.
Still, some 80,000 people have pending administrative hearings regarding their claims. And thousands of people who were laid off or furloughed are refusing to return to work as the pandemic continues, officials said.
Bill Walton, the commission's director of unemployment insurance services, said during the call that people who are called back to work by their employer “generally must go back to that job.”
“If someone refuses an offer to return to work, we would need them to adjudicate that issue before benefit payments could continue,” Walton said.