NORFOLK, Va. - As the economic fallout from the coronavirus continues, more and more workers are being furloughed. Just like workers who are laid off, they are also eligible for unemployment benefits.
The Virginia Employment Commission looks at the wages people receive in determining whether they're eligible, not if they remain a technical employee or receive benefits, according to William Walton, VEC's Director.
Furloughed workers generally remain employees of their place of work, but don't receive pay for a stretch. They're among the more than 10 million Americans who have filed unemployment claims since the outbreak began.
"This is historic. It's unprecedented. It's shocking. We just don't have enough adjectives to say who shift this economic contraction has been," said Dr. Robert McNab, an economist from Old Dominion University.
VEC says they've received historic levels of people attempting to file for unemployment online or through the phone. In some cases, they've been unable to get through.
Walton says he understands the frustration, but says to continue to attempt to file and says eventually they'll be able to file.
For now, McNab says the best bet is to hunker down. "The good news is we know how to get through this. We know that if we can stay apart and get through the next 30 to 45 days, then as testing becomes more widely available, as antibody tests come online, we'll have a much better awareness of who's been infected, who's at risk, and who can go back to work," he said.