ATLANTA — Eligible Georgians will continue to receive the $300 weekly unemployment checks Congress approved last week without a lapse, even though President Donald Trump signed the bill a day after the program’s Dec. 26 expiration date.
Claimants who were still receiving the payments as of the week ending the day after Christmas will get a check next week without any interruption in unemployment benefits, the Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday.
The newly reauthorized federal benefits also will go to claimants receiving at least $1 in weekly state unemployment benefits, beginning with the week ending Jan. 2.
The labor department is reviewing guidelines from the U.S. Department of Labor before distributing payments to claimants who exhausted their benefits on or before Dec. 26.
“Our teams will work through the holiday weekend to make sure we can issue payments next week for all claimants who are eligible for the extension with funds still available in their claim, including issuance of the new $300 (federal) supplemental payment,” Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said.
“We are continuing to work with the (U.S. labor department) on the specific operational guidelines to set up payments for all claimants eligible for the extensions, but some of these guidelines include complicated regulations that require extensive system programming.”
The state Department of Labor encourages Georgia claimants to continue requesting weekly payments. The agency will work to release all eligible payments as quickly as possible after operational specifics are received and implemented.
While additional $2,000 economic stimulus checks for Americans supported by Trump and congressional Democrats remain stuck in the U.S. Senate, Congress did pass a $900 billion stimulus package back on Dec. 21. The package includes an extension of the $300 weekly unemployment checks that would have expired otherwise.
Meanwhile, first-time unemployment claims in Georgia fell by 7,713 last week to 18,960.
Since the coronavirus pandemic first took hold in Georgia last March, the labor department has paid out more than $16.7 billion in state and federal unemployment benefits to more than 4.2 million Georgians, more than the last nine years combined.
The job sector accounting for the most initial unemployment claims last week was accommodations and food services with 5,495 claims. The manufacturing job sector was next with 2,057, followed by administrative and support services with 1,968.
More than 164,000 jobs are listed online at EmployGeorgia.com for Georgians to access. The labor department offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs.