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Georgia DOL Sued by Unemployed Workers

The Georgia Department of Labor is facing a lawsuit from unemployed workers who say their claims still have not been processed. 

The Georgia Department of Labor is facing a lawsuit from unemployed workers who say their claims still have not been processed.

The lawsuit has six co-defendants, all of whom are currently unemployed. They cite the agency’s failure to process claims and the lack of justification for the denials as the justification for the suit against the department and Commissioner Mark Butler. The Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP) is assisting the plaintiffs in the case, as is the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.

The sought remedy, however, is an order from a Fulton County Superior Court Judge requiring the GDOL to process workers’ claims in ‘a timely manner.’ “Georgia law mandates that [GDOL] promptly determine eligibility, pay unemployment insurance claims, and schedule appeal hearings,” the lawsuit states. It seeks to enact a five to 30 day window by the state to respond to claims for unemployment.

One defendant says she lost her home and the ability to address a court matter pertaining to the custody of her special-needs son. Others say they have been waiting months to find out if they are simply approved to receive benefits. The Associated Press reported this week that “Members of the House Democratic Caucus Subcommittee on COVID-19 filed a federal complaint and called for an investigation into the unemployment process. They said the GDOL violated federal law, which requires unemployment benefits to be paid within 21 days to those who qualify.”
Prior to the passage of a second COVID-19 relief package, the GDOL processed a record number of claims due to the pandemic. By May of 2020, the office had issued more than $1.7 billion in unemployment assistance and by October 2020, over $1 billion in Lost Wages Assistance. More than 4.2 million claims have been submitted and it totals more than the last nine years of claims for the state combined.

The GDOL has not commented publicly on the pending legal matter but in August of 2020, the agency released the following with regard to unsatisfied claims:

“92% of all valid claims have received benefits in the past 19 weeks where a payment has been requested, but many of the others are not eligible for payment per state and federal law.  Over 135,000 claims have been filed by claimants who have not worked at all in the past 18 months making them ineligible for regular UI payments.  Of the 65,000 claims that have not been paid to date and are valid to be paid, 20,000 of them have already been deemed ineligible after a review by the department and over 38,000 must still have their eligibility determined due to the claimant’s reason for employment separation or the receipt of other financial payments, including severance or retirement pay. 32,614 individuals are eligible to receive benefits, but have never requested a payment….“The claims that have gotten to this point require a hearing between claimant and employer to determine eligibility,” said Commissioner Butler. “We must maintain a fair and equitable process to ensure the integrity of the UI program.”

Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Chris

    January 8, 2021 at 11:34 am

    How do I get in on the lawsuit! 10 months and counting

  2. Avatar

    Wanda Baswell

    January 8, 2021 at 11:51 am

    I’m in the same situation. I lost my truck and have been evicted. How do I join this lawsuit?

  3. Avatar

    Naaman Evans

    January 8, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    I have applied for my unemployment in may of 2020 got a denial letter file an appeal and now it is January 2021 haven’t heard anything since still claim weekly benefits no reply no letter no email no nothing

  4. Avatar

    Melissa Barrett

    January 8, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    Me tooI I have been trying to apply for PUA and am locked out of my account have been, calling, e-mailing, left messages for Commissioner Mark Butler, since April 2020. I would like to join the lawsuit.

  5. Avatar

    Darius Hollman

    January 8, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    I have been waiting since August got processed in Oct and still waiting for a determination

  6. Avatar

    Julian Smith

    January 8, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    Yes, please any information would be a blessing. Was qualified and received some payments and a letter stating the decision was final and I would receive benefits til Dec. And without any notice my payments stopped and received another letter saying I did not qualify any longer and with no explanation. Sent my appeal letter in September and have heard no response, no returned phone calls or emails.

  7. Avatar

    Amanda V

    January 8, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    I applied got approved in April of 2020 and never received a dime. How do i get on this lawsuit?

  8. Avatar

    larissa grimes

    January 8, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    can i become a co defendent? i’ve been waiting almost six months

  9. Avatar

    Sherrie Bridges

    January 8, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    I was approved for regular unemployment 6/21/2020 and my husband was approved for PUA on 7/5/2020 both of us approved for maximum weekly amount $365.00 and we had to apply for food stamps in October when we was on our 5th without eating the we our power was disconnected before November 1st and before December 1st we have no place to live and going anywhere we can just to try to find a place to shower 1 time aweek And more than a few of those showers have been cold outside waterhose showers. And we still haven’t seen any of the unemployment benefits that we was approved for much less the pandemic unemployment benefits!!! Somebody please help us get our unemployment started please we don’t have much more we can loose.

  10. Avatar

    Nathaniel Washington

    January 8, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    I need to know how do I get in on the lawsuit at this time I lost everything

  11. Avatar

    Nathaniel Washington

    January 8, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    I need to know how do I get in on the lawsuit at this time I lost everything and I’m homeless

  12. Avatar

    John Talley

    January 9, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    My employer filed in March, yet I didn’t receive a letter of approval until May or any payments until June. However, I only received payments up to late May, then after that I stopped receiving payments. In August, I got a prompt saying my eligibility was pending a determination. It has said that since then, with no change to my myUI profile. I have tried to contact GDOL multiple times in various ways (calling/online), and have never received a single response or been able to speak to a representative. I have lost my apartment, phone service, and have to sell my items worth value in order to make ends meet. Meanwhile, they make false claims about how many claims have been left unprocessed and for how long. GDOL needs to be held responsible for the impact this is having on Georgians. How can I join the lawsuit?

  13. Avatar

    Katie Combast

    January 9, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    I’m going thru similar situation I received ui and exhausted my PEUC and I have 14 weeks applied for and nothing I lost everything and I have to be moved from where I’m staying in February with no place to go

  14. Avatar

    Sarah Lambert

    January 10, 2021 at 12:25 am

    I have also had this same issues. Filed appeal in July and havent heard anything. Have a new job and they filed partial claim for me and still have not heard anything from the new claim. This is ridiculous. We need help from another state that knows what to do because obviously GA doesnt. We are all doing really bad because of their lack of knowledge in problem solving

  15. Avatar

    Nakeemah McCray

    January 10, 2021 at 8:51 am

    How can we be added to the lawsuit? Because they speak about rushing the process for the extension to help Americans. But that extension is not going to help those of us that’s been waiting months to get our initial payments correct.

  16. Avatar

    Meka Sinkfield

    January 11, 2021 at 8:01 am

    Same situation
    I need help with lawsuits
    Georgia

  17. Avatar

    Anonymous

    January 11, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    Go on Commissioners Mark Butler Twitter and Facebook page and raise hell…

  18. Avatar

    Taylor

    January 11, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    I need help as well nothing in past 6 months my kids are starving and miserable please how do I join in on lawsuit

  19. Avatar

    Vene

    January 11, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    I applied in August 20,2020, then I received a benefit determination letter on September 30, 2020. It clearly shows that I worked at a school and everyone knows school was closed. I have not heard anything else from GDOL. How can I get in on this law suit?

  20. Avatar

    Chery Davis

    January 11, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    I need to get on also…Shame on GEORGIA!!

  21. Avatar

    Christopher Burgess

    January 12, 2021 at 11:03 am

    I filed in March of 2020 and the whole time it has said “pending “ if more information is needed we will contact you. I have been trying to contact them with no response at all!!

  22. Avatar

    Colleen Rosebud Bolen

    January 12, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    I file for unemployment back in March before the coronavirus started I got accepted they sent me the card They still have not given me my money though, can anybody help me and tell me how I am able to get a hold of them and get my money.

  23. Avatar

    April

    January 13, 2021 at 1:19 am

    Contact your local legal aide office. They will be able to help you.

  24. Avatar

    Angry

    January 13, 2021 at 11:21 am

    The Govt is NOT here for the American People, and you wonder why all the problems we are having.

  25. Avatar

    Beth Vorbeck

    January 13, 2021 at 11:31 am

    Would love to be part of this lawsuit. Trying to get 3 weeks with one employer paid. Was hung up on by GDOL worker. These weeks were claimed in May and June 2020. Absolutely absurd. The commissioner is a joke. No returned phone calls. No one who works at the GDOL give a crap because they are all getting paid. The state of Ga is a joke and they do
    Not care

  26. Avatar

    Devon Moorer

    January 14, 2021 at 6:18 am

    Mark butler is a criminal who needs permanent incarceration. Every state is starting to pay except georgia they cant say they have alot to deal with because the other states do aswell. He has to be stealing

  27. Avatar

    Hannah Fluellen

    January 15, 2021 at 7:18 am

    How do I join as well.
    Approved September 2020.
    Still haven’t been contacted nor received anything.

  28. Avatar

    Reggie Coats

    January 15, 2021 at 9:21 am

    GDOL is corrupted at best! I have had such a hard time getting what is due to me! They act like are intentionally trying to make people suffer.

  29. Avatar

    Arianna Chevalier

    January 17, 2021 at 7:13 am

    I’ve Been trying to figure out how to join this lawsuit for a week now! Seriously considering just filing my own lawsuit against them. They wrongful cancelled my benefits even though I told them I was unemployed, I’ve been waiting for an appeal letter for over 7 weeks now. My benefits shouldn’t have even been canceled if they monitored their emails and phone calls this would have never happened. They are the reason for all these back logged cases. If your NOT doing your job what’s going to happen? They need to be sued it’s been WELL over 30 days and I need my money ASAP

  30. Avatar

    Farron

    January 18, 2021 at 7:43 am

    I would like to know if I could be added I was approved in November and have not received a penny. I don’t have any way to pay my bills. I have called and emailed to no avail. I would like to join in on this suit so I can continue to live.

  31. Avatar

    Terri outlaw

    January 18, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    I filed back last may waited n waited got 2 papers in mail finally got a call said everything looked good then got email n said I sisnt send in a authriztion letter so he was denying it I disnt no I was auppose too I had tried for myths n myths n I done appeal twice still yet to hear anything what I need to do

  32. Avatar

    Tawanda Culler Burge

    January 18, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    I would like to know how to get in on the lawsuit I have been applied for unemployment scent sept I had Covid an pneumonia at the same time had to stay in the hospital for a week after coming out i told my job they told me to apply instead of them an i haven’t heard anything no email no nothing I had a schedule appointment an they said someone will get back with me I still haven’t heard from anyone every week I apply an it still read the same thing they let know if they need any more information I feel this is unlawful an unfair we get out an vote we work heard all our life we didn’t do anything to deserve to be treated so bad I’m almost about to be homeless an no car if i don’t get help soon as well as my daughter who just had a baby an she has three kids please help us

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