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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 former Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com.

53 Comments

53 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

  33. Avatar

    BW

    March 3, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    Would absolutely get on this, I have applied in March of 2020 and received benefits up until I started working for a temporary service, I reported my wages I was making weekly and the unemployment stopped, which is only right. The temporary service laid me off a month later, reapplied for unemployment. I get a letter stating I didn’t report my wages. Appealed it and received my appeal letter back stating I was allowed benefits as of 12/26/20. They deleted previous certifications before 12/26/20 and it was interviewed on 01/11/2021. And my reasoning was due to COVID-19. I have been calling, leaving messages, got through once just to get transferred to a Katherine VM. Lost my place and now trying to keep my car so I can find a job. Applied to so many places even if I wasn’t qualified. I have a associates degree in business and now in my bachelors program. Praying for my benefits to come through.

  34. Avatar

    Annessa Scott

    March 4, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    How do people get in on lawsuit?

  35. Avatar

    Marilyn Herrington

    March 8, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    I need the info on who exactly to contact about the lawsuit. My daughter and I would like to join in because no responses from them filing appeals, emails, voicemails, etc.

  36. Avatar

    Tasia Winans

    April 25, 2021 at 6:38 am

    I have been waiting since August 2020. I can’t get anyone on the phone no emails are returned. I have been claiming every week since August 2020 and they keep sending me a denial letter stating that I don’t qualify because I’m out of work due to a non Covid reason. Since when having a special needs child that won’t wear a mask to school and is a digital learner not a Covid reason? That is absolute and totally bs and is discriminatory for families with children with autism! Here it is April 2021 and still hadn’t heard anything from the appeals tribunal. Smh Georgia is sure to kick us while we’re down!!!

  37. Avatar

    John

    April 25, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    That commissioner saying that it’s a democratic political ploy is full of sh*** I’m a republican and you should be ashamed you lying sac of crap. You need to be removed the GDOL is an absolute joke and has been for a while now. Don’t blame the democrats for the piss poor job you’re doing

  38. Avatar

    Kelsey

    April 30, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    Mines is 3 months now and it’s still pending

  39. Avatar

    Sharon Anderson

    May 4, 2021 at 1:55 am

    I will like to file, same case I applied got some payments start receiving phone calls and letters from a different state so I assume fraud was going on with my identity was told to report as fraud bye a department of labor worker. The next week payment was stop. File a appeal haven’t heard back since 7/2020

  40. Avatar

    Carla Green

    May 14, 2021 at 3:37 pm

    Please provide contact information on lawsuit and how to get involved. Never drawn unemployment before and yet here my husband and myself are unemployed and getting no response from unemployment. Thank you

  41. Avatar

    Hunter lawson

    May 15, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    I filed for ui 05/28/20 was denied regular ui filed for pua next day never received any letter saying if I was denied or not my portal say I’m actively on the pua program yet I have received no payments and have claimed all weeks available to me became homeless 1 month after filing and now nearly a year later still nothing I dont know what to do at this point I desperately need the money I qualified for please help

  42. Avatar

    Rosalind Woods

    May 17, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    I would like to get in on this lawsuit. It’s been months of unanswered phone calls from the Griffin Office,the Interstate claims division and other agencies none of them returned any of my calls. It’s been about 3 months I have not received a determination letter .

  43. Avatar

    Regina Crampton

    May 24, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    GADOL still stalling on paying claiments in May 2021
    I have had several problems with GADOL, their website never updates until there is a problem weeks after everyone is having a problem getting paid this has been since last year. I have copied all websites updated and the date stating what to do since you could never get an answer from them on phone, by email and when you make an appointment on a monday morning that appointment for non payment would be into the next week, and still no payment when you finally have the person assigned to that appointment they tell you to keep claiming your weeks you are in Phase # 1 # 2 or # 3 depending on what they want to tell you ? I have been delayed in the last Cares Act passage did not get any monies owed from that DEC 2020 passage Until March 18, 2021. Then my yr ended but nowhere on their website did it state to reapply if your yr ended, not until April 13, 2021 you had to find it by browsing everywhere in site and then there was a BYE little button, clicked on that and it stated if your yr ended you must reapply and there would be a link telling you this on your UI page but there was not a link at this time, it took weeks for that link to show up, I when reading that decided to reapply no link to reapply only a link to apply for UI benefits go through all the ? and sending it to GADOL. Another Delay tactic was a foot, there was another Benefit passed by the government ARPA. No email or letter ever sent by GADOL that Benefit yr ended like they said would happen. Tried again to email called more than 10 times never received call back in all those months except the one from the appointment and he did not tell me when I would be paid, just keep claiming each week and you are phase 3. I sent another email to my career center and they said I was approved on April 4, 2021 for next round but never received any payment they said they had to validate that my unemployment was valid, but my employer never received a letter until 5-13-21 and they said that it needed to be faxed by 5-14-21. My employer faxed paper they wanted on validating that I am still Unemployed because of Covid-19 lack of work due to businesses are slow in restaurant industry which our employer relies on for the product. Remote only provides 10 to 15 hrs for me to work no full time work available. The GADOL lady called me on 5-17-21 asked me why I was unemployed and why I have hours, told her that employer sent paperwork via fax on 5-13-21 she stated the GADOL did not get any paperwork from employer. Now I had the fax page he sent them from employer since he was swearing, he sent it to them, I told her I could sent you the paper from the fax verification, she said ok send it to me. She then approved for payment for that week, but when doing this she never paid me for the whole month before April 3 2021 thru May 1 2021 weeks ?? I sent her an email on this she stated when reviewing my claim that I did not claim any of those weeks, that is not true and I had each week verified on GADOL UI verification that I claimed each week and sent that doc to her but I still have not been paid for all those weeks again GADOL is stalling so they will not have to pay everyone for back due payments and we know they are stopping the extra little 300 on June 26 2021 week forever, since they think we do not want to work and we are getting paid more than when we worked which is not true in many cases. GA does not pay a living wage for unemployment and they tax their unemployment too, many states pay more in unemployment and still do not tax the unemployment ever, we are getting stabbed in the back they get monies from government to pay everyone and they do not pay them what they are expected to be paid. SAD !

  44. Avatar

    Sandra V Jackson

    May 24, 2021 at 10:18 pm

    I contacted at Atlanta Legal Aid today to become a part of the lawsuit. I am awaiting a return call tomorrow.

  45. Avatar

    William Baggett

    May 31, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    My husband wants in on this law suit. Also can’t we get a recall for Mark Butler as he is not doing his job?

  46. Avatar

    Michael S Stokes

    June 6, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    I was let go from my job after coming back from a weeks vacation on April 12. I’ve sent countless emails to which I finally got a reply after a month and half. I’ve paid my bills out of my savings for the last two months not I’m out and am looking to have to file for bankruptcy. I’m supposed to start a new job come monday June 7. My credit is gonna be ruined and my kids are now going without. I would like to join this law suit!

  47. Avatar

    Stephanie Lewis

    June 7, 2021 at 6:18 am

    I would like to become a co-defendant. I was told because I took a pkg from my job die to COVID-19 that I would qualify after my severance was done in December 2020. I was told to file a claim every week. Then I was advised by an agent at DOL in February that I would receive payment in April. When that didn’t happen I contacted the commissioner, my state representative and Washington. To no avail, no help. I also received a letter that adjusted my eligibility date, still no payment. My prayers are for all of us suffering and losing our homes. I am being sued to hive up a shed I rented for a roof over my head.

  48. Avatar

    Lenox Chew

    June 11, 2021 at 11:18 am

    How do i join lawsuit. Been claiming unemployment since oct 2020 its now june 2021 and nothing but a determination letter. I have a separation letter from job stating lack of work. Numerous calls and emails with no reply. I lost everything and am living in a hotel.

  49. Avatar

    Laquita pyatt

    June 22, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    I’ve been waiting since March I filed my claim over after a year they send me a verification code send me the letter in the mail that I was approved my date changed on my portal I do work but I’m not bringing home as many hours as I was so that’s the reason why I was able to get on you Ui then a week later I couldn’t get in my portal talk to somebody they tell me my verification code don’t exist then they said I filed in another state with that’s a lie it’s like we can’t get no true answers to what’s going on with our claims because they keep giving us the runaround

  50. Avatar

    Jacqueline Whitehead

    June 23, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    I too am having these issues.. I’ve been getting the run around since march after I ever received my final payment on my claim from the prior year.. my new claim was processed according to an email and letter I received. I have been filling out the proper request on the UI website every week for my payment since march 27 and per their request signed up for employgeorgia with resume.. I would like to be a part of the lawsuit and I have emails and documentation, just no deposits!!?? And I am 52 years old with no car now and living with my mother. God help me… GDOL help me!!!

  51. Avatar

    W. BILL

    June 23, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    I am not sure how to get in touch with anyone but someone with the plantiffs, or the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, should really add my situation and what the DOL has done and keep doing with my Valid approved claim, and how for almost 8 months I have been waiting for my payments to start back that stopped for no reason, they are aware, have been aware since January, and “working it” since then, yet I still havent gotten one penny since then of what has already been processed, determined valid, approved, with payments for about 3 months then dec 1st they just stop….done everything by the book from my end, yet here it is July, no one can. Really still tell me why, and just keep getting put off, told to wait 3 weeks, then after that wait another 2 weeks. Then another 2-3, then, give it at least another 30 days, and that’s just since April when I actually started getting timeframes, which made me think I was actually making some headway, but being told anything at this point by the DOL for me is just a joke. I ha e gone from, literally numerous people over the course of 2 months ha e no clue whhy they stopped, and all just throwing guesses. Telling me to try doing this or maybee its because of that, and to read the updates the commissioner puts out, wonders if he is just that out of touch with what is really happening or is he just doing anything at all trying to CYA. I doubt anything will come of this or from this, as it seems the DOL is untouchable and def not held accountable.

  52. Avatar

    Anthony Lacey

    July 29, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    If you decide on a lawsuit against Georgia D of L, let me know, I too liked to join.

  53. Avatar

    Othell W Warren

    October 16, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    I am unable to work due to a automobile accident my employer laid me off so I can collect unemployment I am owed over $12,000 and unemployment and have not received none since the governor and Joe Biden signed that new law tell me how am I supposed to collect the money that’s owed to me

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