HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — As businesses shut their doors across Hampton Roads, many people are experiencing an unprecedented first: Filing for unemployment.
Now, they’re hoping they’ll be able to survive off these benefits for as long as it takes for them to be able to get back to work.
Brooklyn Chisolm, a salon leader at a Hair Cuttery salon in Virginia Beach, says the dramatic decline in customers last week was like nothing that she’s ever seen before.
“No one was making any money. Guest flow was very minimal; every few hours someone would trickle in - definitely not what we were used to.”
Her company mandated their salons close shop Saturday— three days before Governor Ralph Northam’s order for non-essential businesses like hair salons close for 30 days.
“As much of a burden as it was to be out of work, it was still very scary to be working considering how intimate our profession is and how up-close-and-personal we are with [our customers]."
She rents her home and fear what could happen to the roof over her head if she can’t pay the bills. That type of uncertainty lead to another first for Chisolm: Filing for unemployment.
She says many of her co-workers filled the application out online when still in the salon, “They’re all worried they’ve all got their own families everyone’s losing their livelihood.”
More than 3 million people took similar steps to file for unemployment last week - the highest increase on record according to the Department of Labor - and now it’s a waiting game for Chisolm’s family and millions of others
As a single parent with two young children, she lives paycheck to paycheck. Like many people, she doesn’t have a financial cushion to weather the long-term effects of being out of work.
“It’s strange to kind of have my survival pretty much be in the hands of this application or the limitations that are put in place for what I can actually receive from this.”
Even still, she’s staying positive and excited for the first day she’ll get to return to doing what she loves.
The Virginia Employment Commission says it should take about two weeks from the date of filing an application to receive benefits if all the steps are followed.
If you have filed an unemployment insurance application (UI), you must then file a weekly claim for each week or you will not be paid. VEC recommends you do this on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday of each week if you remain unemployed and want to be paid for the prior week.
You can complete and submit your weekly UI payment request by calling 1-800-897-5630. You can also find more information by visiting the website.
The fastest way to get benefits is by setting up direct deposit to a bank account when filling out the application online.