Virginia to reinstate work search requirement for unemployment recipients

(Ned Oliver/ Virginia Mercury)

People receiving unemployment benefits in Virginia will soon be required to apply for at least two jobs weekly to remain eligible for benefits, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

The work-search requirement, a longstanding feature of the nation’s unemployment system, was suspended early in the pandemic amid safety concerns and widespread business closures.

“Customers are normally required to actively look for work while collecting unemployment benefits,” Commissioner Ellen Marie Hess said. “With increased vaccination access, first in the nation workplace safety regulations, and a robust demand for workers from businesses, Virginia will resume collecting and reviewing work search activity of customers in the near future.”

The commission did not say when exactly the requirement would be reinstated, but said more information would be distributed next month.

Under the rules, people receiving benefits would have to apply for at least two jobs a week and document the effort in weekly filings.