Atlanta, GA – The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) paid over 450,000 Georgians last week more than $265 million in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, totaling almost $18.5 billion since March 21, 2020. As of the week ending February 13, Georgia has paid more than 95% of all claimants eligible for payments where a request for payment has been made in the regular UI program. This includes 1,014,662 valid regular UI claims, 357,412 valid PEUC claims, and 52,453 valid SEB claims.
“The GDOL is issuing payments at a 95% payment rate for hundreds of thousands of Georgians,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “We have devised creative strategies to make this process easier and faster, all while implementing six new federal programs with different requirements during a pandemic. We have issued payments to almost half of Georgia’s workforce in the past 10 months while addressing an incredible amount of fraud. The challenges have been severe and to be able to pay 95% of claimants in a timely fashion is a testament to the dedication of our staff.”
Of those still waiting on payments, the cause may include his/her reason of separation or the receipt of severance or retirement payments. If a claimant is separated for any other reason than lack of work and/or they have received severance or retirement pay, their claim must be further reviewed for eligibility. Currently, the GDOL is reviewing almost 80,000 claims due to a separation including an employee quitting or being discharged. The agency is performing more than 1,500 reviews each day evaluating information from both the employee and the employer to make the eligibility decision.
The GDOL is also processing more than 65,000 appeal requests filed when an employee or an employer does not agree with an eligibility determination. However, this number includes appeal requests that once reviewed are sometimes found invalid, such as appealing payment dates or filing multiple appeals for the same determination. The Administrative Hearing Officers will conduct a hearing issuing a decision based on the testimony and evidence presented by the claimant and employer in the hearing.
According to a recent USDOL benefit timeliness report from December 2020, for first time payment recipients, Georgia paid 43% within 7 days, better than all neighboring states (AL – 26%, FL – 31%, NC – 35%, SC – 29%, TN – 27%) and significantly outpaced the national average of 29%. Mississippi touts a 58% seven day payment statistic, but for 2,400 claimants compared to Georgia’s 17,000 for the same time period.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in March of last year, the GDOL has processed 4,419,391 regular UI initial claims, more than the last nine years prior to the pandemic combined (4.0 million). Last week, regular UI initial claims totaled 26,532, down 5,854 over the week. Additionally, since week ending March 21, 2020, the agency has processed 347,181 PUA claims.
The sectors with the most weekly regular UI initial claims processed included Accommodation and Food Services, 5,555, Administrative and Support Services, 3,156, Manufacturing, 2,694, Retail Trade, 1,972, and Health Care and Social Assistance, 1,713.
The number of initial claims filed throughout the United States for the week ending Feb. 13 was 861,000, anincrease of 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 848,000.
Today, over 187,000 jobs are listed online https://bit.ly/36EA2vk 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 https://bit.ly/2ZudL0c.
UI benefits are taxable income and 1099-G tax forms are issued in accordance with federal law to report payments and all taxes withheld during each tax year. If you received a 1099-G tax form and did not file a UI claim yourself or your employer did not file one on your behalf, you may be the victim of UI fraud and should report the incident on the GDOL website at https://www.dol.state.ga.us/public/uiben/fraud/reportType. Select Report 1099 ID Theft at the bottom and follow the instructions. If you received a 1099-G tax form and returned the benefits or wish to return the benefits, please see detailed instructions on next steps at https://dol.georgia.gov/blog/form-1099-g-tax-information.
For more information on jobs and current labor force date, visit the Georgia Labor Force Market Explorer at https://bit.ly/3ayIPjd to view a comprehensive report.