VEC delays timeline for new unemployment insurance system

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Employment Commission said their new unemployment insurance system will be implemented in early November. The current system will be down in late October to prepare for this.

The modernized system was initially expected to go live on Oct. 1, a timeline reiterated by state leadership in a presentation to state lawmakers early last week.

VEC customers will not be able to file initial/additional or reopened claims, weekly claims, or obtain inquiries on the IVR (telephone system) during this changeover period.

VEC Spokesperson Joyce Fogg told 8News an exact date in November is to be determined.

“We are still assessing potential options, but our primary focus is to take a few more weeks to allow for more time on testing and training to ensure the best possible outcome,” Fogg said.

Appeal functions such as filing an appeal through the VEC website, participating in a scheduled appeal hearing and registering a telephone number for an upcoming appeal hearing will continue without interruption.

VEC said they are making the change to improve the overall experience of its customers.

Secretary of Labor Megan Healy said that the system is completely built but they are continuing to do user testing and training.

“The decision to have the claimants who are in the UI system to move the last week in October instead of this week was made last Friday. The statewide accounting system for all the state agencies is going live Oct. 1 and the VEC is also in the middle of their annual APA audit. A lot is going on,” Healy told 8News Capitol Reporter Jackie DeFusco.

Last week, a report by the state’s non-partisan watchdog agency found the VEC could’ve been better equipped to handle the large increase in jobless claims during the pandemic and that the agency was often slow to implement improvements. 

JLARC’s report said an outdated unemployment insurance IT system developed in 1985 underpinned a number of the agency’s pandemic problems by hampering customer service and making it difficult for staff to navigate the process. 

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.

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