Being out of a job is scary. Many turn to unemployment to help pay the bills. But some workers say it's taking longer to get those benefits.
We're talking about jobs like pavers and landscapers. They usually work eight months out of the year and collect unemployment from the state the other four months.
But the folks who work these jobs say when it comes to collecting these benefits, something's changed.
There are men and women who are both employed and unemployed at the same time.
"On temporary unemployment these guys come back every year, same guys, my customers and clients see all the same faces all the time, they know the properties and they know the job. It just makes business sense," said Darrell Hungate of Landscape Enterprise in Salem.
In order for his employees to collect unemployment in their off season, they have to be partially employed year round. For many seasonal employers, this means getting creative to keep the same employees.
"We have to pay them at least a minimum of an hour a week to keep the employees from looking for work, another job," said Hungate.
These unemployment claims used to be filed locally. But Virginia Workforce Center specialist Kathy Holcomb says that's changed.
"It's coming from Richmond and Roanoke just has to follow through, because they've been very cooperative trying to work out any problem they've had," Hungate said.
These seasonal employees are used to filing the same paperwork and getting the same unemployment check at the same time every week during the winter. Moving this process to Richmond is forcing them to wait a little longer before they get their checks.
The Virginia Employment Commission in Richmond to find out why they unilaterally changed the policy, they say it was to improve efficiency and ensure accuracy.
The prevailing opinion among seasonal employers is other seasonal employers just write down that their employees worked reduced shifts when they're actually not.
Darrell Hungate says even though his guys do busy work, he says there's a right way to have seasonal employees work reduced shifts and still collect unemployment in the off-season.