Commission shares final conclusions and recommendations for the VEC system
It is estimated that nearly $ 1 billion has been issued in incorrect payments throughout the pandemic.
VIRGINIA, United States – A state commission has released the final findings of its audit of Virginia’s unemployment system.
Since the start of the pandemic, the system has been plagued by backlog problems, leaving thousands of Virginians looking for answers and benefits.
Monday’s presentation with the Joint Audit and Legislative Review Commission started with some bright spots: The percentage of unemployment-related appeals that are answered is on the rise and the average wait time has improved since then. the latest data available in June 2021.
VEC’s arrears have also declined since an interim briefing in September, but complaints and potentially fraudulent appeals have increased.
JLARC’s presentation focused on its final conclusions and subsequent recommendations.
Ultimately, the report focused on understaffing and funding complications leading to a still overburdened system.
A slide explains the following output:
“VEC does not have a resilience plan to help the agency plan effectively for periods of high unemployment.”
“Funding for VEC’s user interface operations has fluctuated with economic conditions, making it difficult for VEC to maintain staff and improve systems. “
This survey highlighted common themes of inefficient allocation of funding, in part because many practices and procedures are paper and manual based with the agency.
“VEC’s inefficient operations have put it at a disadvantage in the federal funding formula for UI operations and prevented it from spending the operational funding it receives in the most efficient and effective manner possible. ”
Another recurring theme in the final report is understaffing.
In some roles where supervisors would have to supervise a staff of less than 15 or even 8 people, “many” VEC supervisors have more than 20 direct reports.
In fact, five call center supervisors would supervise a full-time staff of 40 to 60 people.
In total, the JLARC report includes 40 recommendations to help VEC better manage unemployment claims. Some of these recommendations call for help from Virginia lawmakers at the general assembly.
The recommendations come on the same day that VEC’s online benefits system temporarily goes offline to help the agency transition to a more modern interface and usability for Virginians, which is expected to take several days.
A JLARC commissioner has requested that the Virginia Employment Commission have some sort of update on the progress of these recommendations in time for its next meeting in December.
The full presentation via JLARC can be viewed on the State General Assembly streaming page.