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Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The CARES Act also creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which will provide unemployment insurance benefits to those who are not covered by the regular/traditional Virginia Unemployment Insurance Program. These individuals may include those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, clergy and those working for religious organizations. In addition, states have policies in place to allow furloughed workers to receive unemployment benefits and part-time workers can receive partial benefits.  If you have applied for unemployment insurance and have been informed by the Virginia Employment Commission that you do not qualify for unemployment benefits (UI), you can apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. The CARES Act includes temporary benefits for individuals who are ineligible for traditional unemployment. These individuals may include those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, clergy and those working for religious organizations as well as others who may not be covered by the regular/traditional UI program. 

The Virginia Employment Council (VEC) Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Application is now live. For more information on how to apply as well as eligibility requirements, see the frequently asked questions below or click here for information from the VEC.

How do I know if I am ineligible for traditional unemployment insurance?

The first step was to apply for unemployment insurance (UI) by visiting vec.virginia.gov or vawc.virginia.gov or by calling 866-832-2363.

You received (or will receive) a Monetary Determination from the Virginia Employment Commission that indicates that you do not qualify for unemployment benefits (UI).

View Example of Monetary Determination

If you are self-employed or an independent contractor, gig economy worker, clergy, as well as those working for religious organizations and other workers (including non-profit entities), you are not “covered” by the state unemployment insurance (UI) program. The monetary determination confirms that you are not eligible for the regular/traditional Virginia state UI program.


Do I need to file an appeal against the Monetary Determination?
You only need to appeal this determination if you feel that your wages should have been reported under the regular/traditional UI program. (Typically, reportable wages result in an IRS form W-2) Otherwise, you do not need to appeal but please see the information below concerning a new unemployment insurance program (PUA).


What is the process for non-traditional, PUA applications?

A provision within the CARES Act is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. It will provide unemployment insurance benefits to those who are not covered by the regular/traditional Virginia state UI program.

  • This link will take you to the PUA application. You will be asked to create a user name and password. Complete the application.
  • The VEC will process the PUA application. An effective date of the PUA claim will be established from the information in the application. The VEC will create a “monetary determination” as a result of this PUA claim and notify you of your benefit eligibility.
  • Please note that the VEC will retain your banking information from the original UI application. That information will carry over to the PUA claim.
  • The VEC will begin making initial payment of PUA benefits in approximately two weeks, following the acceptance of the PUA application.
  • The VEC may require additional documentation to validate your claim, reprocess your monetary determination or to investigate fraud.


I was not an independent contractor or self-employed and I still received a Monetary Determination that indicates I do not qualify for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, do I qualify?

The Virginia Employment Commission does not have access to wages earned from the Federal Government, Military or other states. If you worked for one of these employers during the 4 quarters showing on your Monetary Determination, you need to take the following action so that we can attempt to validate your Virginia state unemployment insurance claim.

  • If you worked as a federal civilian worker and have not already submitted a copy of your SF50 to the Virginia Employment Commission, please mail it to: Virginia Employment Commission, Monetary Determination Unit, P. O. Box 27887, Richmond, VA 23261-7887. 
  • If you served in the military and have not already submitted a copy of your DD214 (member 4) to the Virginia Employment Commission, please mail it to: Virginia Employment Commission, Monetary Determination Unit, P. O. Box 27887, Richmond, VA 23261-7887.
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