Georgia Unemployment Benefits

Georgia unemployment insurance (UI) is a public program that provides workers with temporary financial assistance while they are in between jobs. Specifically, UI is available to candidates who are unemployed due to circumstances that were out of their control. Through the program, enrollees are able to utilize unemployment funds that can help support them and their families. The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is responsible for administering the program.

The sections below will explain how to apply for unemployment online and which documents are required to submit a claim. Furthermore, the following segments will explain how petitioners can determine their eligibility for unemployment and prepare for UI interviews.

What is unemployment in Georgia?

Georgia unemployment coverage (UC) is available to applicants who have recently become unemployed through no fault of their own. Successful enrollees may be eligible to receive UI stipends for a maximum of 20 weeks. Furthermore, beneficiaries may receive a maximum of $330 during each week they are enrolled in the program. While unemployment insurance provides stability and support to enrollees and their families, this is not a long-term program. Therefore, recipients should not expect to extend an unemployment claim beyond the state’s 20-week maximum.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in Georgia?

Eligibility for unemployment in Georgia requires petitioners to meet specific requirements before they may enroll in the program. These requirements relate to:

  • How much money applicants made in the calendar quarters leading up to their unemployment.
  • Whether or not petitioners lost their jobs due to conditions that were outside of their control.
  • Applicants’ ability to work and their availability to proactively search for employment.

To determine petitioners’ financial unemployment insurance eligibility, the GDOL examines how much money applicants made during their base periods. The base period refers to the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters, excluding the quarter when petitioners apply for UI coverage. Candidates must have earned qualifying incomes during two of these four quarters. Furthermore, the total wages in the base period must equal to or be greater than the wages earned in the highest quarter.

Regarding job loss, qualifications for unemployment require applicants to have lost their employment through no fault of their own. Examples of scenarios that would exclude claimants from receiving UC benefits include:

  • Being fired Petitioners who are fired due to misconduct, disobeying company rules or not following instructions are unlikely to qualify for UI.
  • Quitting – Applicants who quit their jobs due to personal reasons typically do not qualify for UC. These reasons include disliking their work schedules or not having access to transportation.
  • Unavailable to work – Claimants who have schedule restrictions that prohibit them to work full-time jobs do not qualify for UI enrollment. Examples of this include school schedules and not having proper child care resources.

Finally, determining who qualifies for unemployment takes into account additional factors and situations. For example, candidates who participate in GDOL-approved training programs can qualify for UI.

How can I sign up for unemployment in Georgia?

Candidates wondering how to apply for unemployment online in GA should note that this is typically the quickest enrollment method. In addition, applicants deliberating where to sign up for unemployment in person can apply at a GDOL career center. In order to submit an online application for employment, petitioners must register with a personal email address. Moreover, claimants applying in person or online must supply a copy of their government-issued photo identification. In addition, petitioners who were given an Employer Separation Notice must submit this document as well. However, claimants must bring additional documents to file for UI if they fall into the following categories:

  • Military employees A military worker must bring a recent DD-214 Member 4, military leave statement and “orders to report” or “orders to release.” In addition, they must submit their earnings or a W-2 form.
  • Federal employees – A federal employee must submit a Standard Form 50 and Standard Form 8. Additionally, he or she must include a W-2 form or pay stubs.
  • Union members – A union member must include his or her union card.
  • Non-citizens – A non-citizen applicant must submit a front and back copy of his or her Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

When claimants complete the UC registration process, they are also required to sign an “applicant status affidavit.” Upon signing, applicants are certifying the GDOL that they are either United States citizens, legal permanent residents or non-citizen legal residents. When applicants file for unemployment, they are also required to indicate how they would prefer to receive their UI benefits. Claimants may elect to receive funds through direct deposit to their personal bank accounts or through a state-issued debit card.

How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Georgia?

Claimants may need to prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Georgia if the GDOL requires them to complete this step. While not always necessary, the GDOL may request an unemployment phone interview with petitioners after they have submitted their applications. There are two common reasons why the GDOL may need to interview the claimant. First, the GDOL must request an interview if the candidate did not fill out the application correctly. Similarly, the GDOL will need to speak with the applicant if he or she left supplied ambiguous information. However, these interviews are usually quick.

In some instances, the GDOL may need to request an unemployment interview with employer and one with the claimant. These conversations are necessary when the applicant submits information in his or her materials that differs from the employer’s testimony. In most cases, these discrepancies relate to why the applicant was terminated. The questions asked during unemployment interview in these cases are typically more in-depth. Regardless, both parties should focus on providing as detailed and accurate information as possible. In order to prepare for the UI phone interview, employers and claimants should gather relevant materials, such as:

  • Employee handbooks
  • Exit interview notes
  • Relevant email correspondences
  • Written warnings from the supervisor or Human Resources

How do I claim unemployment benefits in Georgia?

In order to claim unemployment benefits in GA, successful applicants must make sure they continue to meet the state’s weekly certification requirements. This step requires petitioners to submit information relating to their work search progress, income and availability to work. In order to maintain an unemployment benefits claim, enrollees must submit three legitimate job contacts each week they collect UC. This means that beneficiaries must contact three potential employers every week. Failure to make these contacts could cause the GDOL to delay payment or to cancel applicants’ claims altogether.

The next step in claiming benefits for unemployment in Georgia relates to finances. Recipients must report any income they earn while receiving UC benefits. While enrollees are able to work while on the program, any earnings over $50 will be deducted from their weekly benefit amount (WBA). Falsifying information or intentionally underreporting income may result in a removal from the program or legal action.

Finally, in order to claim UI benefits, enrollees must maintain open availability to work full-time. Recipients must register with the state’s Employment Service Division and are required to respond to all of the department’s notices. Furthermore, applicants may not reject any suitable employment offers without having a good reason. Unacceptable excuses for turning down job opportunities include not having:

  • Access to reliable transportation.
  • Appropriate child care for dependents.
  • An open schedule due to school conflicts.

What do I do if I am denied unemployment benefits in Georgia?

Petitioners who are denied unemployment in Georgia by the GDOL have the right to file an appeal. Employers may also file an appeal if they disagree with the state’s decision. Employers and workers who are denied unemployment benefits have 15 days to file an appeal from when a decision was issued. To submit an appeal, petitioners must mail, email, fax or personally deliver a written appeal to the Georgia Department of Labor Career Center. In addition, applicants with unemployment benefits denied must also submit their Social Security Numbers (SSN).

It usually takes between two and three weeks for a UC denial appeal to produce a hearing. The department typically sends a written notice at least 10 days before the hearing takes place. The notice will include:

  • When and where the hearing is taking place.
  • The topics that the referee will discuss during the hearing.

Applicants who are denied UI and their employers must prepare for these hearings. They may gather supporting documents to submit to the referee or call witnesses. In addition, both parties are permitted to have a legal advisor present during the hearing. However, legal representation is not required. Finally, if either party disagrees with the referee’s decision, they may appeal to the Board of Review. The board is comprised of a three-member panel and does not hold in-person hearings.

How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in Georgia?

A federal unemployment extension is offered during periods when many people are unemployed. U.S. Congress must authorize the unemployment benefits extension and determine whether it will be offered on a national or state-by-state basis. An unemployment extension in Georgia is called State Extended Benefits (SEB). However, an SEB is not typically offered. Conversely, when this UI compensation extension is available, it extends the state’s unemployment enrollment period beyond the maximum 20 weeks. When active, petitioners must contact the GDOL to enroll. In these scenarios, the program is available to recipients who have already exhausted the state’s maximum amount of UI benefits.

How do I contact the Georgia unemployment office?

The Georgia unemployment office maintains locations throughout the state. Petitioners, enrollees and employers may contact the UI office by calling the location’s phone number. In addition, parties may visit the office during business hours. The GDOL unemployment office in Atlanta is located at:

2636 M.L.K. Jr Drive SW

Atlanta, Georgia 03311

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What is the Way2Go Debit MasterCard?

In the state of Georgia, there are 2 ways that unemployment benefits are paid out, direct deposit and through the Way2Go debit card system. The Way2Go card works in the same way a prepaid debit card. Funds are automatically added to your account, which in turn can be used to pay for goods/services as well as at ATMs.

Who can file for unemployment?

Any individual who has worked in the state of Georgia in the past 2 years can file for unemployment insurance online. If you currently reside in Georgia but have not earned wages in the state in the past 2 years, the Georgia Department of Labor may be able to help you file a claim through the proper state.

Can I file for unemployment benefits in Georgia if I quit?

Generally, unemployment benefits are for people who are fired from their job through no fault of their own. However, it is possible to claim unemployment benefits if you quit, if you can prove you quit for good, work-related reasons. Some of those reasons include, nonpayment for work, considerable change in working conditions, material change in a working agreement and more.

Georgia Unemployment Office Locations

UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY INFORMATION

Georgia Department of Labor 148 Andrew Young International Blvd, NE Atlanta, GA 30303 (404) 232-3500 View Website Unemployement Claim File