QQQ   387.12 (-1.70%)
AAPL   164.77 (-0.32%)
MSFT   330.08 (-0.15%)
FB   310.60 (-4.27%)
GOOGL   2,821.03 (-0.60%)
AMZN   3,443.72 (-1.81%)
TSLA   1,095.00 (-4.35%)
NVDA   314.35 (-3.80%)
BABA   122.49 (-3.95%)
NIO   38.31 (-2.10%)
CGC   9.94 (-7.19%)
AMD   149.11 (-5.85%)
GE   93.00 (-2.09%)
MU   85.15 (+1.37%)
T   22.23 (-2.63%)
F   19.58 (+2.03%)
DIS   142.15 (-1.90%)
PFE   54.68 (+1.77%)
AMC   28.57 (-15.82%)
ACB   6.01 (-6.39%)
BA   188.19 (-4.88%)
QQQ   387.12 (-1.70%)
AAPL   164.77 (-0.32%)
MSFT   330.08 (-0.15%)
FB   310.60 (-4.27%)
GOOGL   2,821.03 (-0.60%)
AMZN   3,443.72 (-1.81%)
TSLA   1,095.00 (-4.35%)
NVDA   314.35 (-3.80%)
BABA   122.49 (-3.95%)
NIO   38.31 (-2.10%)
CGC   9.94 (-7.19%)
AMD   149.11 (-5.85%)
GE   93.00 (-2.09%)
MU   85.15 (+1.37%)
T   22.23 (-2.63%)
F   19.58 (+2.03%)
DIS   142.15 (-1.90%)
PFE   54.68 (+1.77%)
AMC   28.57 (-15.82%)
ACB   6.01 (-6.39%)
BA   188.19 (-4.88%)
QQQ   387.12 (-1.70%)
AAPL   164.77 (-0.32%)
MSFT   330.08 (-0.15%)
FB   310.60 (-4.27%)
GOOGL   2,821.03 (-0.60%)
AMZN   3,443.72 (-1.81%)
TSLA   1,095.00 (-4.35%)
NVDA   314.35 (-3.80%)
BABA   122.49 (-3.95%)
NIO   38.31 (-2.10%)
CGC   9.94 (-7.19%)
AMD   149.11 (-5.85%)
GE   93.00 (-2.09%)
MU   85.15 (+1.37%)
T   22.23 (-2.63%)
F   19.58 (+2.03%)
DIS   142.15 (-1.90%)
PFE   54.68 (+1.77%)
AMC   28.57 (-15.82%)
ACB   6.01 (-6.39%)
BA   188.19 (-4.88%)
QQQ   387.12 (-1.70%)
AAPL   164.77 (-0.32%)
MSFT   330.08 (-0.15%)
FB   310.60 (-4.27%)
GOOGL   2,821.03 (-0.60%)
AMZN   3,443.72 (-1.81%)
TSLA   1,095.00 (-4.35%)
NVDA   314.35 (-3.80%)
BABA   122.49 (-3.95%)
NIO   38.31 (-2.10%)
CGC   9.94 (-7.19%)
AMD   149.11 (-5.85%)
GE   93.00 (-2.09%)
MU   85.15 (+1.37%)
T   22.23 (-2.63%)
F   19.58 (+2.03%)
DIS   142.15 (-1.90%)
PFE   54.68 (+1.77%)
AMC   28.57 (-15.82%)
ACB   6.01 (-6.39%)
BA   188.19 (-4.88%)

This worker got jobless benefits; Virginia wants them back

Thursday, November 25, 2021 | Sarah Rankin, Associated Press

Ernest Ray, Kendra Potter
Ernest Ray, right, sits with his niece, Kendra Potter at the Virginia Higher Education Center in Abington Va., Tuesday Aug. 17, 2021. Ray has been fighting the state of Virginia in court as it tries to recoup unemployment benefits he received after being laid off from his job of more than two decades. (AP Photo/Sarah Rankin)

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — For 26 years, Ernest Ray worked at a company in southwest Virginia that made compressors, in a physically demanding job that involved night shifts on a factory floor. When the plant closed in 2018, Ray applied for and received about $9,000 in unemployment benefits.

Three years later, Ray is fighting the Virginia Employment Commission in court as the agency tries to take the money back. It’s a case that, as Ray’s pro bono attorney sees it, illustrates the ethos of a radically dysfunctional agency.

“Like the teacher who doesn’t like children and the librarian who doesn’t like books, this is an agency that doesn’t like the people that it’s supposed to serve,” said Hugh O’Donnell, who has done decades of unemployment compensation work.

The agency has been under scrutiny for the past year and a half for a response that by some measures was among the nation's worst to a surge in jobless claims due to the coronavirus pandemic. But cases like Ray’s, interviews with attorneys and state audits show the agency was plagued with a wide range of problems for years before the pandemic; they were simply brought to the forefront when hundreds of thousands of workers suddenly needed help.

Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin campaigned on a promise to overhaul the agency, and Virginia Labor Secretary Megan Healy, who oversees it now, also says some problems are structural. She says the agency has long lacked sufficient resources thanks to a complicated federal funding formula that pays out less when the economy is strong and has also penalized the agency's inefficiencies. Outside reviews have warned of problems going back nearly a decade, including major records-management issues, low staff morale and unclean facilities.

During the pandemic, the agency lagged in setting up certain benefit programs and allowed backlogs of cases to pile up, prompting a class-action lawsuit. An information technology modernization project eight years behind schedule exacerbated the situation, leaving claimants reliant on physical mail and call centers that a recent audit found were still only answering 12% of calls.

Virginia, which has relatively limited benefits, also has starkly low recipiency rates among the unemployed — with the third-lowest average rate in the nation over the past two decades, the audit found.

“The system is just broken. There’s no other way to describe it,” said Martin Wegbreit, director of litigation at the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.

President Joe Biden's administration has said the pandemic exposed longstanding challenges in the unemployment insurance system nationwide, and that it needs comprehensive reform.

For Ray, the struggles with the agency began well before it was flooded with pandemic-related claims.

Deaf since birth, Ray spent decades making complicated machinery at Bristol Compressors. During his shifts, he wore safety glasses, gloves, an apron and steel-toed boots that sometimes grew even heavier when soaked with leaking coolant, Ray said in an interview, with his niece interpreting.

A former colleague, David Woodring, called him a “gentleman” and honest “top-of-the-line guy” who never missed work and performed a job that required a great deal of skill.

Ray made about $36,000 a year in his last year of work at the company, which closed despite receiving millions in taxpayer-funded incentives. Ray’s wages qualified him for $378 a week for 24 weeks, according to records in his case.

Ray, who is 57 with worn hands and a big white beard, began receiving those benefits without issue, started looking for a new job and meanwhile drove about 30 miles (48 kilometers) each way to an employment commission office in Bristol to comply with the state’s weekly work-search documentation requirements. He didn't have a computer to do the paperwork online.

When his benefits ran out in May 2019, staff instructed him for reasons that are unclear to keep reporting his work-search details. Ray then missed one week due to a minor illness. After producing a doctor's note, he received a notice saying he had been deemed unable to work — an applicant must be eligible to work to receive benefits — “due to medical reasons” and had received his payments in error. The state wanted the money back.

O’Donnell, a former executive director of a legal aid clinic, said none of it makes any sense. The doctor’s note, which is included in the lengthy case file, expressly said Ray was not incapacitated.

Ray appealed, but did so three weeks late, according to his lawsuit. Fluent only in American Sign Language, he had trouble reading the tiny print of the agency’s notice and understanding the bureaucratic language.

Ray’s case has since been winding its way through the employment commission appeals process. At each stage, the state has fought him on the basis of his late appeal, not the merits of the case. The commission never explained its reasoning for seeking the repayment, O'Donnell said, blaming Ray at one point for an alleged lack of diligence.

Joyce Fogg, a commission spokeswoman, refused to comment on the specifics of the case. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Mark Herring declined to comment on the litigation.

Labor Secretary Healy and top commission officials have defended the work of the agency's employees, who faced an unprecedented surge of applications amid the pandemic, changing federal guidance and confrontations, including death threats, from irate individuals.

Despite the flood of commission-related complaints, state officials have so far shown little appetite to push for sweeping reforms.

A scathing audit released by a watchdog agency this month made 40 recommendations for changes and faulted the administration of outgoing Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam for waiting too long to address problems as pandemic-related claims surged. It also noted weak oversight from the federal Department of Labor and urged the General Assembly to do more.

Youngkin, who takes office in January, has promised an agency overhaul will be a top priority but so far has released no specifics about where he will start.

Ray and his niece say he was unable to find another job, largely because of his deafness. He is now getting by on Social Security disability benefits that started well after his unemployment benefits ended.

He said he doesn’t have the money to repay the state and worries constantly about his case.

“I lost my job and then it’s like something that should have been in place to help me find something else just turned into a bigger mess,” he said.


7 Fintech Stocks That Will Continue To Disrupt Traditional Banking

In April 2021, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon described fintech companies as one of the “enormous competitive threats” to traditional banking. And with good reason. Fintech (short for financial technology) is not just “digital banking.” It’s a different approach to banking that traditional banks will not be able to replicate by outspending their competitors.

You see, cryptocurrency is getting a lot of attention for the way it’s disrupting the monetary system. But before there was bitcoin (CCC: BTC-USD), there was fintech.

What started out as a way to send money from one person to another without the need for a bank (i.e. peer-to-peer lending) has morphed into much more. Today, individuals and businesses can get loans, invest, and pay bills conveniently and securely. And they can do so without ever having to set foot into a bank.

Financial technology is democratizing finance for many individuals who have been left behind by the traditional banking system. The “unbanked” is a huge target audience. But whereas fintech started as reaching those that were unbanked out of necessity; it is cultivating a new audience among those who are going unbanked by choice.

In this special presentation, we’ll look at seven fintech companies that are leading in this space today and will do so well into the future.

View the "7 Fintech Stocks That Will Continue To Disrupt Traditional Banking".


Resources

Premium Research Tools

MarketBeat All Access subscribers can access stock screeners, the Idea Engine, data export tools, research reports, and other premium tools.

Discover All Access

Market Data and Calendars

Looking for new stock ideas? Want to see which stocks are moving? View our full suite of financial calendars and market data tables, all for free.

View Market Data

Investing Education and Resources

Receive a free world-class investing education from MarketBeat. Learn about financial terms, types of investments, trading strategies and more.

Financial Terms
Details Here
MarketBeat - Stock Market News and Research Tools logo

MarketBeat empowers individual investors to make better trading decisions by providing real-time financial data and objective market analysis. Whether you’re looking for analyst ratings, corporate buybacks, dividends, earnings, economic reports, financials, insider trades, IPOs, SEC filings or stock splits, MarketBeat has the objective information you need to analyze any stock. Learn more about MarketBeat.

MarketBeat is accredited by the Better Business Bureau

© American Consumer News, LLC dba MarketBeat® 2010-2021. All rights reserved.
326 E 8th St #105, Sioux Falls, SD 57103 | U.S. Based Support Team at [email protected] | (844) 978-6257
MarketBeat does not provide personalized financial advice and does not issue recommendations or offers to buy stock or sell any security.

Our Accessibility Statement | Terms of Service | Do Not Sell My Information

© 2021 Market data provided is at least 10-minutes delayed and hosted by Barchart Solutions. Information is provided 'as-is' and solely for informational purposes, not for trading purposes or advice, and is delayed. To see all exchange delays and terms of use please see disclaimer. Fundamental company data provided by Zacks Investment Research.