RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Initial payments have begun to laid-off workers under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which Virginia lagged most other states in getting up and running.

The program provides up to an additional 13 weeks of regular unemployment insurance to individuals who have already exhausted their benefits.

The Virginia Employment Commission announced Thursday that payments started Tuesday.

Over 12,000 claims have been paid so far to the total of about 41,000 individuals eligible.

The Associated Press has previously reported that Virginia was behind most states in implementing the federally funded benefits.

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