The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced Thursday, May 7, that it has issued over $1.7 billion in combined state and federal unemployment benefits in the past seven weeks.

Since the middle of March (week ending March 21), GDOL has processed 1,597,593 regular initial unemployment claims. Of these claims, 778,330 were valid with enough earned wages to receive benefits and 518,000 Georgians (84% of all those filing for unemployment) have already received their first payment.

“Over half a million Georgians have received a payment from the Georgia Department of Labor,” said GDOL Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said May 7. “We have been enhancing our current systems and creating new ones to make sure every eligible applicant receives their UI (unemployment insurance) benefits as quickly as possible.”

Those individuals with invalid or denied claims that could potentially be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) began to see payments during the week of April 26-May 2 totaling over $4 million. This includes individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of non-profits, or those with limited work history who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits. As of the week of April 26-May 2, 83,583 PUA applications were processed and are eligible for payment (82% of all PUA claims received). 89% of the processed claims have either been paid or are eligible to be paid. Over 34,000 applications have been processed, but applicants have not requested payments. In order to receive benefits, applicants must request payments for each eligible week. Applicants are continuing to be identified as potential PUA recipients when deemed ineligible for state benefits and directed to apply for federal benefits.

During the week of April 26-May 2, GDOL processed 228,352 claims. Of the weekly total, 171,747 were employer filed claims, 75% of all claims. In the past seven weeks, of all claims determined to be eligible, approximately 576,382 were employer filed partial claims. The number of initial unemployment claims filed throughout the United States was 3.1 million During the week of April 26-May 2, a decrease of 677,000 from the previous week.

The sectors with the most initial claims in the past seven weeks included Accommodation and Food Services, 446,437, Health Care and Social Assistance, 183,328, Retail Trade, 182,663, Administrative and Support Services, 130,039, and Manufacturing, 122,772.

During the week of April 26-May 2, the GDOL issued regular weekly UI benefits totaling $176,354,763, up $21 million over the previous week. Over the last seven weeks, over $620 million has been paid in regular UI benefits.

In addition, the total federal funds issued for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, or FPUC, totaled over $400 million during the week of April 26-May 2. Over the past seven weeks, the GDOL has issued over $1.1 billion in federal funds. FPUS provides an additional $600 weekly payment to any individual eligible for any of the unemployment compensation programs – state and federal.

As of May 2, the Georgia Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Balance was $2,126,662,546, up $34 million, from the previous week’s balance. This upward tick was attributed to tax revenue collections of $165 million deposited on April 30, 2020 outpacing the benefit payments for the week.

At this time, the GDOL career centers are remaining closed to the public. All online services are still available as the staff continues to answer phones, return emails, and assist applicants. The GDOL will open offices to the public as soon as social distancing can be effectively implemented to protect both staff and customers.

The GDOL is also continuing to work with employers to get Georgians back to work. Employers have been contacting the GDOL with job opportunities that are critical during this crisis — some in the workplace and others that can be done from home. Today, over 100,000 jobs are listed online at www.EmployGeorgia.com for Georgians to access. The GDOL offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs.

Information on filing an unemployment claim, details on how employers can file partial claims, and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found on the agency’s webpage at dol.georgia.gov.

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