The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is working to complete the requirements for the extension of benefits for the programs included in the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
For those claimants who received a weekly benefit payment for week ending December 26 from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program or the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program with funds still available in their claim, eligible payments will be released next week without a lapse in unemployment benefits. The new $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) will also be issued to eligible claimants receiving at least $1 in weekly regular state UI, PUA, PEUC, or State Extended Benefits beginning with first payable week ending January 2, 2021.
The GDOL has started to receive and is reviewing the federal guidelines from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) before distributing payments for claimants who have exhausted benefits on or before December 26.
“Our teams will work through the holiday weekend to make sure we can issue payments next week for all claimants who are eligible for the extension with funds still available in their claim, including issuance of the new $300 FPUC supplemental payment,” said Commissioner Mark Butler. “We are continuing to work with the USDOL on the specific operational guidelines to set up payments for all claimants eligible for the extensions, but some of these guidelines include complicated regulations that require extensive system programming.”
The GDOL encourages claimants to continue to request weekly payments. The agency will work diligently to release all eligible payments as quickly as possible after operational specifics are received and implemented. Determinations are continuing to be issued for claimants awaiting eligibility decisions when a job separation is other than lack of work or includes other potential issues that can affect eligibility, such as receipt of severance or retirement pay, refusal to accept suitable job offers or failure to return to work. All eligible payments will be issued when a decision on eligibility is released, including any additional weeks of benefits a claimant could potentially be eligible for with the implementation of the new program extensions.
The Georgia Department of Labor has paid over $16.7 billion in state and federal benefits since the beginning of the pandemic in March of this year. Last week, the GDOL issued $105 million in benefits, which include regular unemployment and federally funded Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) supplements, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and State Extended Benefits.
Since week ending March 21, 2020, 4,200,833 regular UI initial claims have been processed, more than the last nine years combined (4.0 million). Last week, regular UI initial claims totaled 18,960, down 7,713 over the week. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 346,566 PUA claims have been processed.
The number of initial unemployment claims filed throughout the United States for the week ending December 26, was 787,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 806,000.
The sectors with the most weekly regular UI initial claims processed included Accommodation and Food Services, 5,495, Manufacturing, 2,057, Administrative and Support Services, 1,968, Health Care and Social Assistance, 1,959, and Retail Trade, 1,107.
Today, over 164,000 jobs are listed online at EmployGeorgia.com for Georgians to access. The GDOL offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs. Resources for reemployment assistance along with information on filing an unemployment claim and details on how employers can file partial claims can be found on the agency’s webpage at dol.georgia.gov.