Georgia gets green light for $300 supplementary unemployment benefits

Mark Butler

Georgians who are receiving at least $100 a week in state unemployment benefits are expected to get an additional $300 boost from the federal government—at some point.

Officials have announced that while the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) has approved Georgia’s application to provide supplementary payments from its disaster relief fund, it could still be weeks before unemployed workers receive the money.

Georgia is working to reconfigure its system to process the FEMA supplements, said Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner(GDOL) Mark Butler.  The state also is still working on addressing unemployment claims that have never been processed.

“GDOL will deliver a system to process these weekly supplements as quickly as possible,” Butler said in a statement. “At this time, there is no need for claimants to contact GDOL concerning the proposed enhanced unemployment benefits. We will announce more information on our website and social platforms as it becomes available.”

Those who earn less than $100 in unemployment will not qualify for the additional federal assistance under President Trump’s proposal to use FEMA funding.

After Congress hit a stalemate, Trump signed executive order to put aside $44 billion in FEMA funding to replace the expired program that provided assistance to out-of-work families who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program (FPUCP), which expired on July 31, provided $600 in weekly supplementary payments for 13 weeks to the nation’s unemployed.

The money for Trump’s proposed program is supposed to run through Dec. 6 or until the funding runs out. Experts say, however, the funding may only last five weeks if all states participate.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 25, FEMA had approved 32 states for the funding.

Over the past 20 weeks, the GDOL reported that it had issued more than $8.4 billion in FPUC funds. From the week ending March 21,2020 through August 8, 2020, the sectors with the most regular UI initial claims processed included Accommodation and Food Services, 818,180, Health Care and Social Assistance, 407,516, Retail Trade, 373,200, Administrative and Support Services, 288,294, and Manufacturing, 266,087, state labor officials said.

Last week, the GDOL issued more than $51 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to eligible 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.

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