The recently passed CARES Act legislation provides for a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020.
Under the CARES Act, real estate professionals will be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits, under the new “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” temporary Federal-state program if they have been fully or partially unemployed due to an inability to work as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, if an individual is eligible to telework with pay, or has paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, they are not eligible for unemployment assistance.
This dramatic expansion of unemployment insurance increases weekly benefit amounts and extends benefits to self-employed and independent contractors who lack work as a result of the coronavirus public health emergency. These workers are not usually covered under traditional state unemployment benefit programs.
The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) is responsible for administering unemployment benefits in the Commonwealth. The VEC is currently awaiting guidance from the United States Department of Labor before beginning to issue the $600 payments provided for by the CARES Act for those who are self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, and gig-economy workers. The VEC will provide updates on this guidance on their Covid-19 website: http://www.vec.virginia.gov/covid19
If you believe you need this assistance, we recommend that you apply now. To file an initial claim, continue to the VEC Unemployment Insurance page.
Detailed instructions for completing the UI application can be viewed here: https://www.vec.virginia.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Information-on-claims-related-to-layoff-March-2020.pdf
Please note that due to the high number of Unemployment Insurance claims filed, call volume is exceedingly high. You may experience difficulty getting through over the phone and wait times will be exceptionally long. If you are filing an initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits, please do so by using the online claims section linked above. The online claim filing system is operational, but not sending confirmation numbers. Claims are being received and the VEC is working on fixing the problem.
NVAR will continue to monitor this situation and alert you to any further guidance relating to unemployment benefits for self-employed individuals and independent contractors.