The Virginias unemployment benefits office is one of the largest in the nation, and the number of claims for state unemployment benefits has exploded in recent years.
In 2015, the office received nearly 6,700 claims, up from just over 1,200 in 2012.
In the first six months of 2016, claims jumped by nearly 2,500, the state said.
The office has since seen an increase in the number and severity of claims.
For 2016, the agency processed over 3,000 claims.
While the number is up, it is not a record high, and it is still a small percentage of the state’s unemployment rate.
Virginias office says the office is now accepting more claims.
But, the increase does not come without its downsides.
The agency, which was created by the federal government in 2017, does not process claims for those who are not eligible for unemployment benefits, according to spokeswoman Mary Anne Gentry.
The state said those who receive unemployment benefits are not being told that they can’t be laid off until their benefits are paid.
They are being told to apply for a new job, she said.
Gentry said that when the state gets complaints about the office, it reviews each complaint and takes corrective action.
She said the agency also reviews applications for state benefits and takes a hard look at those who have lost their jobs.
“We look at all claims and if it appears that it’s not being processed properly, we make a determination that it is,” Gentry told The Associated Press.
The department of public safety and corrections handles the state unemployment program, which is administered by the Department of Social Services.
The Department of Public Safety and Corrections said in a statement that it has “the utmost respect for the rights and dignity of every employee, regardless of their position in the system.”
“We work closely with the Office of the Governor on all claims,” it said.
“When claims are processed, they are evaluated for accuracy, completeness and the adequacy of documentation.”