Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Information

I supported the CARES Act to bolster our public health and economic recovery responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill created the temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provides unemployment insurance benefits to people who aren’t usually covered by the traditional Virginia Unemployment Program. The Virginia Employment Commission’s PUA application is now live. For more information please see the FAQ from the Virginia Employment Commission below.

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

First, apply for unemployment insurance (UI) by visiting or or by calling 866-832-2363. You will then receive a Monetary Determination from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) indicating you do not qualify for unemployment benefits. See here to view an example of a Monetary Determination

If you are self-employed or an independent contractor, gig economy worker, clergy, or working for a religious organization, you are not “covered” by the state unemployment insurance (UI) program. The monetary determination confirms that you are not eligible for Virginia’s traditional 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 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 submitting my PUA application and receiving my benefits?

  1. Click here to access the PUA application. You will be asked to create a username and password. Complete the online application.
  2. 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.
  3. The VEC will begin making an initial payment of PUA benefits in approximately two weeks, following the acceptance of the PUA application.
  4. 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 UI benefits, do I qualify?

The VEC 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 the VEC 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.