The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) issued over $130 million last week to Georgians in regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), State Extended Benefits (SEB), and Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) payments. The total issued included payments to almost 167,000 Georgians as part of the Continued Assistance Act (CAA) included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 providing extended benefits for claimants on PEUC and PUA. Last week, almost 300,000 claimants received an FPUC supplement.
The GDOL is still receiving federal guidance on programming the 11-week extension for over 239,000 claimants who exhausted PEUC and PUA benefits on or before week-ending date 12/26/20. Claimants should not file a new claim if they have exhausted benefits, but should continue to request weekly payments. The GDOL will update claimants on next steps as soon as the guidance is received and programming changes are implemented.
“We were able to pay most Georgians without interruption, even with the new guidelines put forth by the new legislation,” said Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler. “We will be implementing even more changes to pay those individuals who have already exhausted benefits and will also implement some of the new programs that were passed in legislation as quickly as possible. Some of the elements of the new bill are going to require extensive new programming due to how complex the rules were written in the legislation.”
The GDOL encourages claimants to continue to request weekly payments for those who have exhausted benefits or are waiting on determinations on eligibility. 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 GDOL has paid over $16.8 billion in state and federal benefits since the beginning of the pandemic in March of this year. Since week ending March 21, 2020, 4,232,291 regular UI initial claims have been processed, more than the last nine years combined (4.0 million). Last week, regular UI initial claims totaled 31,458, up 12,498 over the week. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 346,494 PUA claims have been processed.
The number of initial unemployment claims filed throughout the United States for the week ending Jan. 2, was 787,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 790,000.
The sectors with the most weekly regular UI initial claims processed included Manufacturing, 7,739, Accommodation and Food Services, 6,507, Administrative and Support Services, 3,622, Transportation and Warehousing, 2,031, and Health Care and Social Assistance, 1,989.