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Unemployed contractors, self-employed Virginians can now file weekly claims through Gov2Go app

After weeks of delays, VEC says there's one final step before workers can receive retroactive benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

NORFOLK, Va. — After weeks of waiting, thousands of unemployed Virginians now have access to one final step before they can receive much-need benefits.

An option to file weekly claims for benefits via the Gov2Go application is now available for many unemployed workers who filed for benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

The federal PUA program expands unemployment benefits to cover workers who are normally excluded from the unemployment system, like independent contractors, gig workers, and self-employed workers.

The Virginia Employment Commission reports 65,000 of these workers filed for expanded federal benefits under the PUA program in the last two weeks. That application involved the Gov2Go application.

Workers report opening their Gov2Go apps on Friday to see an option to file weekly claims for benefits, to their surprise.

“I just happened to be on the computer, figured I’d look at it, and there it was," said Dalton Davis, an unemployed contractor. "I'm definitely excited and relieved a little bit... first thing I'll do is pay the rent."

A VEC spokeswoman said after filing weekly claims in the app, benefit payments should be received "in the next few days." For people not seeing the weekly claim option in their Gov2Go app, she said it's being released as PUA applications are approved.

The app allows workers to file claims dating back to mid-March, ensuring the retroactive payment of unemployment benefits.

Davis said communication from VEC is still lacking; he and others told 13News Now they weren't informed of this availability, they found it by checking the app or seeing a post online. However, Davis said he hopes to be grateful for expanded access to benefits.

"I'll greatly appreciate it once I get it," he said.

13News Now found out on May 12 that workers who filed through the PUA application online will not need to keep filing weekly claims through the regular system on the VEC website. The Gov2Go weekly claims system replaces that as a more tailored version for self-employed workers and independent contractors. 

We'll update this story with more information when we receive it.

RELATED: 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment in six weeks, including more than 500,000 Virginians

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RELATED: Virginia self-employed workers, independent contractors still waiting on federal unemployment benefits

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