Thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, unemployment payment amounts will increase, more folks will qualify, and benefits will be available longer.
Previously, only those workers who receive W-2s from their employer qualified for unemployment benefits. However, with the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) through the CARES Act, folks who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors or have a limited work history can now also file for unemployment benefits.
The normal unemployment application is being modified for these types of workers and is now available on the Georgia DOL website. If you have already filed a claim with the GDOL and will be eligible to potentially receive benefits under this program, you do NOT have to refile your claim. Instead, you will be sent an email with a link to provide additional information for the PUA Program.
Other Important Details
GDOL expects to start distributing an additional $600 from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation next week. This would be added on top of Georgia’s existing unemployment benefits package, which ranges from $55 to $365 weekly. So, the most someone could receive weekly is $965 with the federal and state packages combined.
- The Georgia DOL time period for receiving unemployment benefits has been extended from 14 weeks to 26 weeks.
- With the CARES Act, the time period could increase 13 more weeks.
- UI recipients can earn up to $300 per week before earnings begin to count against their benefits.
- If your employer files the unemployment claim for you (the preferred method), you should receive your first payment within a week or so. If you file a claim yourself, it could take up to three weeks.
- Payments will arrive via a “Way2Go” Debit MasterCard that has been sent to you or by direct deposit.
You can visit the GDOL website to access an application and follow step-by- instructions and video tutorials on applying for unemployment.
The Georgia Department of Labor processed 390,132 unemployment claims during the week of March 29-April 4 — more claims in seven days than were processed in all of 2019! And the U.S. Department of Labor announced that around 10% of the total American workforce are currently unemployed.