ICYMI: Three Questions from Wednesday's Telephone Town Hall


On Wednesday afternoon, I hosted a Telephone Town Hall for folks across the First District on COVID-19. I held this call alongside special guests, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade Angela Navarro and representatives from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), to answer the most pressing questions from folks in our region. In case you were unable to join us on that call, click here to listen to the call in its entirety on my Facebook page where it was streamed live.

Additionally, I wanted to provide you with a highlight of three questions that we received live on the call with answers below. I appreciate everyone who participated on the call, and in case we were unable to get to your question, click here for frequently asked questions on Coronavirus from the CDC and click here for comprehensive information regarding the economic response, vital resources, and more to address the Coronavirus outbreak. You can also submit your question through my website and we will get back to you with an answer.

In case you missed the call, click here to be added to my telephone town hall call list, and if you missed the invitation to join the call, click here to receive the latest news, information, and updates on this developing story in your inbox. And be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to get information as it breaks.

1. I am currently on unemployment due to a Coronavirus-related closure of my place of work and I am receiving benefits. My employer notified me that their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application has been approved and I will be paid using those funds for the next eight weeks. Once that eight-week period is up, will I need to reapply for unemployment or am I no longer eligible?

According to the VEC, when you file a claim for unemployment, you establish a benefit year. Within that benefit year, there is a certain amount of funds that you are eligible to draw from under the state unemployment insurance program. For example, if you drew six weeks’ worth of benefits before your employer began to pay you again and you have a claim that was worth a total of twenty weeks, you are still able to draw upon the remaining 14 weeks once you reopen the claim. A new claim year would not be established. 

You do not need to notify the VEC that you will not be drawing unemployment during those eight weeks, you can simply stop filing your week-to-week claim. Once you need to draw upon the unemployment insurance benefit year again, you simply reopen your claim and continue to file your week-to-week claim.


2. I filed for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and heard that you can roll the EIDL loans into a PPP loan, is that an option what is that process?

According to Deputy Secretary Navarro, this is still allowable under Small Business Administration (SBA) guidance and the best course of action is to contact your SBA 7A lender (local lending organization) to discuss that process, especially if your PPP loan is funded before your EIDL loan is funded.

One thing you should especially discuss, according to Deputy Secretary Navarro, is that PPP loans cover roughly 2.5 times your payroll, whereas EIDL has the potential to be a much bigger loan amount, up to $10,000. You should ensure with your local lender that you are getting the appropriate terms for those two loan components.

The most important thing for small businesses is to get your application in to your local lender and remain in close contact with them. Below I have listed several helpful links to answer further questions you may have about the SBA EIDL loans and the PPP:

Click here to apply for an SBA Disaster loan

Click here for the application form for the PPP

Click here for information on the Paycheck Protection Program

Click here for more information from the SBA

Click here for small business guidance on loan resources


3. I applied for unemployment insurance but noticed there was a question asking if I had actively looked for work during the preceding week. Due to the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order and CDC guidance on social distancing, I answered “No.” Will this mean my application will be denied?

According to the VEC, normally they require “work search” as a stipulation of benefits, however due to the Governor’s order, the VEC is not requiring work search at this time. If you have chosen the answer “No” to the question regarding work search, this will not impede your ability to receive benefits.

Click here for further information and FAQs on Virginia Unemployment Insurance

Visit the Virginia Employment Commission to apply for unemployment insurance: https://www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed/online-services/apply-for-unemployment-benefits. In order to file for unemployment insurance, you must have been separated from your employer or have had your hours reduced.

Answers to these questions and more can be heard by clicking here to watch the call on my Facebook page. I will continue to keep you updated regularly through emails, social media posts, and telephone town halls as this outbreak and the response to it continues to develop over the coming days.

As always, I encourage you to share this information with your family, friends, and neighbors and encourage them to sign up for my updates so they never miss a piece of breaking information.



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