How Long Do I Have to Work For to Collect Unemployment in Virginia?

There is no minimum amount of time or wages an employer has to meet in order to qualify under unemployment compensation.

To qualify for UI in VA, you must have worked during a minimum of two quarters in the base period. You also must earn total at least $3000 between the wages of two quarters, making the minimum required base period earnings to be $3000.

VA offers an alternate base period, which considers the last four completed calendar quarters of the base period (instead of the first four); however, an extended base period is not offered.


  • Jenn

    Hi. I started with a company Aug 30. 2016 & received my last check Aug 04. 2017. But I have not been fired, or laid off, it’s because my employer didn’t have enough clients, so she says. While I’m waiting, I file and receive unemployment, and it’s been a year since hiring but I’m asking if I am let go because there still is no work that they’re giving me, am I able to receive my vacation time that is issued in a year, although my last paycheck was August 4th, and I was still employed with the company.

  • chad lindeman

    I made $49,00 in 2016 in Virginia. And I filed in Feburary of this year. and Virginia only gave me 12 weeks due to only giving me an earnig up until june of 2016. how do I get the remaining 6 months of wages earned so I can receive the additional 12weeks.

    • In order for VA to have used earnings through 12/31/2016, you needed to wait to file until after April 2nd. Since you already have a claim, you can’t get those earnings included in another claim until this one expires in 2018. Try to find any kind of work between now and then and perform at least 30 days or 240 hours of work. You will then be eligible for a new claim when this one expires and that claim will include the remaining six months’ earnings from 2016.

      Meanwhile, dates matter. What is the actual date of your claim? WHEN did you first submit an application for benefits? If you filed in February, VA should have used earnings October 1, 2015-September 30, 2016. You needed to question VA immediately on why it used the base period it did if you, in fact, filed in February. Another three months earnings would have probably added 7-14 weeks to your benefit.

  • Rocky

    I’ve worked for a company from 5/15/17 – 7/17/17, and was suspended for 3 days for a bogus “disciplinary” write-up that was also levied against my co-worker at the same time, by a liar who is scrambling to climb the corporate ladder. We, in turn have refuted the claims. I supplied enough evidence against the lying employee to question their judgement and raised enough doubt that HR issued the suspension and said “it’s going to be investigated”.
    Well, now 11 days have passed without word from the company, and friends have advised me to go ahead and file for unemployment, since only 3-day suspension was called for.
    *** I have NOT been fired, nor have I been officially laid off from the company, however, I’m losing $100/day in potential pay, and have earned over $4000 to date, with my next paycheck being issued the 1st week in August..
    ***Due to this unexpected extended suspension, without notice of it going 11 days instead of 3, am I eligible to collect unemployment for what seems like a layoff, or “lack of work” ?

    Please advise

    • Potentially, yes. Know that an application for benefits will most probably trigger a firing. Benefits are paid on the basis of application date. Which means, all the work missed so far is not eligible for benefits. In addition, VA has an unpaid waiting week. If you file today, calculate five additional unpaid days before VA can begin paying benefits. Further, claim approvals take time. No doubt your employer will oppose. It could well be four-six weeks before you see any money at all retroactive to filing date – with deduction for the unpaid waiting week.

      • Rocky

        Thanks, however, this thread is titled
        “How Long Do I Have to Work For to Collect Unemployment in Virginia?”

        In your comments you refer to MN ( Minnesota ?). U.I. benefits vary widely from State to State. .

        • Rocky

          Additionally, I don’t believe it would be legal to fire anyone for applying for U.I. benefits.
          That would be viewed as “retaliation”,
          They might try to deny my U.I. claim, or speed this thing up put me back to work.
          I know for a fact that their U.I. rates would go up for each new claim, so it might set a fire under their butts to take some decisive action.

          • An illegal and retaliatory firing – i.e., wrongful termination – would have no effect on your application for unemployment benefits. Wrongful termination/retaliatory firing would need to be litigated through the EEOC.

            Relative to the benefits themselves, yes, your employer will either take you back or fire you. If your relationship is not good, chances are you will be terminated when you apply for benefits. The cost of UI is hardly ever a reason not to discharge. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, most employers want all parties to a conflict gone. Further, most employers know any accusation of misconduct by employer is an automatic denial, initially, for unemployment benefits in VA. You would need to appeal to have the matter more thoroughly examined at appeal, making employer prove the lies, before the denial is overturned.

        • Sorry – that was a typo, I’ve since corrected. Same answer applies whether you’re in VA or MN. Benefits vary depending state formulas, but the application/approval process is pretty much the same everywhere with one or two exceptions. VA is not an exception.

  • Kayaira Williams

    I’ve been with my job since Feb of 2017 and my previous job from May 2016 to Feb of 2017 , if I quit my current job will I qualify for unemployment?

  • ROBERTA oster

    I worked in a state university for 4 months, full-time. Is that enough “time” to claim benefits?

    Also i had to resign because the job was not the right “fit” – I was not fired – it was a mutual decision that the position was not the right place for me. no issues.

    Am I eligible for any benefits? thanks for your help.

    • Did you have prior work history to this? You need at least two quarters of earnings in VA through 6/30/2017. You will need to assert that your resignation was not voluntary, but in fact submitted in lieu of discharge because of “bad fit.” Apply and let VA make the determination.

  • E

    It is now July 2017 and I have been at my job since September of 2016. I have been told by my employer I cannot return to work because they can not accommodate my medical restrictions (due to my type of work). I want to know if I will be eligible to recieve benefits based on them telling me I am not allowed to return to work.

  • Autumn

    Can you still collect unemployment if you have to quit your job due to homelessness, forcing you to move an hour away from your job?

    • Only a very few very politically liberal states (California and Oregon come to mind) will pay a benefit under these circumstances if you can demonstrate you have exhausted all possibilities in your search for suitable, affordable housing. Virginia is not likely to be one of those states. Apply anyway. You have nothing to lose.

  • Autumn

    I started work April 14 2017 and was let go June 13 2017 by no fault of my own the employer just decided she wanted someone else.
    Do I qualify for unemployment?

    • You need two quarters of earnings between 04/01/2016-03/31/2017 in order to qualify. If you don’t have that, apply July 2nd. VA will consider earnings through 06/30/2017. Be prepared to provide proof of earnings as VA’s database will probably not be up to date for the quarter ending 06/30/2017.

      • Autumn

        Sonic I’m not working by July 2nd apply for unemployment then? Just trying to understand fully.

        • What is your work history? I explained you need two quarters of earnings. If you had a job before this one with earnings in 2016, apply when you are laid off. If not, wait until July 2nd.

      • Tracy T. Skinner

        I was just terminated by a company after working there a little over 60 days; April 4 – June 13th. Prior to that position I worked as a “seasonal employee” for QVC, November 2016 – March 2017. I worked as an Independent Contractor from January 2016 – September 2016 and as an Agent for the New York Life from 2012 – 2017 (paid only on commissions). Do I qualify for unemployment?

        • If you have earned $3,000 between October 2016-March 2017, you are eligible. In VA you need two quarters of W-2 earnings in your base period – which you have 4Q2016 and 1Q2017. If you apply now, using its alternate base period, VA will consider wages Apr 1, 2016- Mar 31, 2017, and divide total earnings in those two quarters by 50 to determine your weekly benefit.

  • Erika

    I live in Virginia and I worked my last job from 4/10/17 to 4/25/17 and was let go because it wasn’t a good fit, they needed someone with more experience. I applied for unemployment and the interviewer told me that I didn’t work long enough at that job so they looked at my previous job(I was there for a year) and decided that that’s where they wanted to make the case. I informed them that I wasn’t fired from that job, I was fired from my last job. She told me that I wasn’t there long enough to qualify for unemployment benefits. Is that accurate?

  • Brian Henley

    I was just fired from my job, after only working there for four weeks. They told me that it just wasn’t working out, and that I wasn’t a good fit for the job.
    Up until being hired, I had been working full time at another job for a year.
    Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

  • Ericka

    I was let go of my job in January due to no fault of my own. I received unemployment until I was hired at my new job. I’ve been there 2 weeks, but the office pet cat has my allergies going crazy and it’s been making me really sick. If I left my new job due to this issue, would I be able to qualify for unemployment until I find something else?

    • Essentially, you are a bad fit for this work environment which is not disqualifying – but first you must attempt to preserve the employment relationship. Get a doctor’s statement that you cannot work near this cat, and ask employer for accommodation. If employer doesn’t correct the issue, only then can you quit. If would be better if they discharged you.

      • Ericka

        I’ve talked to my employer about the issue. The solution they came up with was the shave the cat, which if you know anything about cat allergies, it’s not an allergy to the fur. It’s an allergy to the saliva. Would this constitute as an accommodation on their part which would disqualify me?

        • Not if doesn’t fix the problem. You have a cat allergy – whether fur or saliva. If you are still having issues, get a statement from a doctor that you can’t work in an environment cats inhabit. VA will need a doctor’s statement.

          • Ericka

            I have a doctor’s note saying I cannot be around cats. Am I supposed to give my employer a certain amount of time to fix the issue? Because I’m the meantime, I’m going to keep getting sick.

          • No, you quit this week. Tell employer doc says you can’t be around cats and that shaving the cat hasn’t helped. If employer won’t remove the cat from the premises, quit.

          • Ericka

            Do re-apply the same way I did the first time or is there a different way I apply due to the circumstances?

          • You REOPEN the existing claim. Call VA to do this – or VA may have an online process. Best to call, if you can. VA will need to investigate the separation – just as it did when you first filed.

  • Niecey

    I was hired at my job August 1st 2016 we got pregnant and thought I would be able to take my 3 months and be able to come back to my job but according to Human Resources since my year does not start until August first 2017 I will not be eligible to take 3 months and I will also have only 6 weeks to have my baby and return to work ( which seems impossible but They are exspecting me to work up until that day she is due which is July 20th) they say if i am even one day over that 6 weeks I will be fired and will have to reapply They also say a doctors note does not excuse that that if I take the week off befor she’s due and then my doctor keep me out 6 weeks to heal that I will still be fired because that’s policy …my plan was to start my maturity leave at the beginning of July so I would only be one month away from my one year mark so it seems pretty crazy that they told me all this today but I guess my question is do I or would I qualify for unemployment For my 6 weeks and or after my 6 weeks if I get fired ?

    • Eligibility for FMLA is a labor law issue unrelated to unemployment benefits. You are eligible, as you have a medical reason for not returning to work. If you are discharged for medical reasons, you apply for benefits. VA will establish the claim. However, unemployment benefits are not paid if you are physically not able to search for and accept work. You will need to provide a doctor’s release before VA will pay benefits.

  • MG

    I recently began a job on February 22, 2017 and was let go on March 16, 2017. I was hired as part of an expansion plan that was cancelled and the termination was through no fault of my own and had I actually turned down another job offer to take this position. I previously had not worked for a month but was working continuously for over five years before that period. Do I qualify for benefits?

    • You have plenty of work history to qualify monetarily. But, the break in employment is an issue.

      Why didn’t you work for a month? Were you let go? If so, did you apply for benefits? If that is the case, reopen the existing claim.

      Otherwise, did you quit? If so, why? If you can’t demonstrate good cause for that quit, VA will require that you have worked 30 days or 240 hours after that quit before paying benefits, which you haven’t done.

      Nonetheless, apply to get the process going. You’ve already worked 17 days. If you can find some short-term temp work, that, together with the 17 days at the new job, will purge that penalty. Thereafter, you will be able to collect on that claim.

      • MG

        I was terminated prior to the 30 day break and didn’t quit. I didn’t collect benefits during that time.

        • VA will investigate that prior separation as well as the most recent. Since both were discharges, unless either employer alleges misconduct, you should have no trouble qualifying for an unemployment claim. If the earlier termination was due to misconduct, then you’re back to the 30 days/240 hours of work purge discussed earlier – unless you can disprove those allegations at appeal. Employers often falsely allege misconduct to avoid their accounts being charged for benefits.

  • Erika

    If I started my job in October 2016 & was fired in march of 2017 am I eligible ?

    • If you have no other work history, prior to October, the answer is no – at this time. If you have worked at least two quarters in 2016, then, yes.

      Otherwise, wait until April 2nd to apply. At that time VA will use quarters ending 12/31/2016 and 3/31/2017.

  • Liz

    I’ve worked for a company from July 2016-Feb 2017 (current). I’ve earned more than $3000 in that time. I had no prior employment in more than 2 years prior to this job. If I’m fired today, would I qualify for unemployment?

  • Shan

    If I worked from nov 3 2016-feb 16 2017 and made over 3000.00 do I qualify for unemployment benefits

    • The base period for any application made earlier than April 2nd, will disregard your January-February 2017 earnings.

      For now, you need two quarters of wages between Jan-Dec. 2016. If your work history begins November 2016 and you have had no other earnings in 2016 prior to September 30, 2016, no, you do not qualify for benefits at this time.

  • JB

    If I am laid off and move to another state am I still able to capture compensation?

  • Caila

    I live in NC but work in Va I work sept- Dec. And Feb – beginning of summer. Making 8.25 an hour. Should I qualify?

    • If you have earnings Feb-June and Sept – Dec, you should qualify. That schedule however, suggests you may be working for a school which does not have employment over the holidays and in the summer. If so, you may have a problem. But apply, anyway, and let VA determine your eligibility. The quarters of work are there, but the type of work you do may be an issue.

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