Last week, the Georgia Department of Labor processed more claims in seven days than were processed during the entire year of 2019. The GDOL announced Thursday that the agency processed 390,132 claims during the week of March 29 through April 4, more than three times what was processed the week before. Unemployment initial claims throughout the United States remained steady at 6.6 million.
“Commissioner Mark Butler and I are committed to helping Georgians who are out of work and those seeing less in their paychecks because of COVID-19,” said Governor Brian Kemp.
“Commissioner Butler and his team have drastically reduced red tape and significantly streamlined their processes to ensure that we get funds to hurting Georgians as quickly as possible. As we work with our federal partners to administer these programs, we will leave no stone unturned to assist Georgians in need and ultimately get them back to work.”
The GDOL issued payments of $41,786,386 in unemployment benefits to 168,319 Georgians last week. A majority of the 390,132 claims were from individuals from the accommodation and food service industries.
“Our claims numbers have tripled what they were a week before,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Thanks to the governor and his support of this agency, we have been able to automate much of this process by requiring employers to file on behalf of their employees, making this process much easier for Georgians to receive benefits.”
Last week, the GDOL processed 201,844 employer-filed claims. These claims are filed on behalf of employees who are temporarily laid off or had their hours reduced and eliminates the labor-intensive employer verification needed for individually filed claims. An employer-filed claim, if filed with no errors, should take less than a week to pay the employee. An individual claim, with no errors, can take up to 21 days to process and pay the claimant.
“We are working daily to increase the efficiency of our systems and update our resources on our website to assist applicants with the process,” stated Comm. Butler.
Comm. Butler encouraged Georgians to visit the GDOL website at www.dol.georgia.gov
to access applications, step-by-step instructions and video tutorials on applying for unemployment. The commissioner emphasized that with the huge volume of claims the agency is receiving, people need to use the on-line tools when possible.
For those individuals currently receiving state unemployment benefits, the GDOL anticipates being able to start delivering the additional $600 supplement from the federal stimulus bill beginning next week. This supplement will be an additional payment to regular weekly state unemployment benefits.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is the federal program that will provide unemployment benefits to those not ordinarily eligible for state benefits. This includes individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, or those with limited work history who will not qualify for state unemployment benefits. The GDOL is modifying its current online unemployment application adding new questions to better identify those individuals who may be eligible for PUA. This modified application is expected to be available on Monday, April 13, 2020, on the GDOL website. Once the application is received, it will take several weeks to process. These additional questions in the application will help determine qualified applicants to continue the process for PUA benefits, including a different set of wage verifications and a different process for certification of wage benefits. The GDOL is partnering with other state agencies to assist with wage verification simplifying the process for PUA applicants.
If you have already filed a claim with the GDOL and will be eligible to potentially receive benefits under this program, you do NOT have to refile your claim. These individuals will be identified and sent an email with a link to provide additional information for the PUA Program.
The GDOL is also continuing to work with employers to get Georgians back to work. Employers have been contacting the GDOL with job opportunities that are critical during this crisis – some in the workplace and others that can be done from home. Today, over 101,000 jobs are listed online at www.EmployGeorgia.com
for Georgians to access. The GDOL offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume and assisting with other reemployment needs.
Information on filing an unemployment claim, details on how employers must file partial claims, and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found on the agency’s webpage at www.gdol.ga.gov