Unemployment insurance is temporary income for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and are either looking for another job, have a definite recall within 6 weeks of the last day worked, or are in approved training. The funding for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers. Workers do not pay any of the costs.
Unemployment claims can be filed in person at any Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) career center or by Internet from any computer with appropriate Internet access.
To file an unemployment claim via the Internet, you must have a valid email address. This email account should be your personal email address because private and confidential information about your claim will be sent to this email address.
ALL INDIVIDUALS: A copy of your valid government-issued picture identification and Employer Separation Notice, if you were given one.
PRIOR MILITARY PERSONNEL: At least one of the following: most recent DD-214 Member 4, “orders to report”, “orders of release”, military earnings and leave statement, and/or W-2 form(s) from your most recent military service.
PRIOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES: Standard Form 50, Standard Form 8, W-2 form, or pay stubs (if you worked for the federal government at any time during the last 18 months).
UNION MEMBERS: Union card (if you are a member of a union that assists you in finding employment).
DISASTER AFFECTED INDIVIDUALS: A copy of your most recently completed income tax return or quarterly estimated income tax payment record(s), if applying for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) and you are self-employed or a farmer.
NON-CITIZENS: A copy of the front and back of your Employment Authorization Document.
If you have earned Georgia wages in the past two years, you can file a Georgia Internet claim.
Information for individuals who cannot file a Georgia claim by Internet: If you reside in Georgia but have not earned Georgia wages in the past two years, go to a Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) career center to obtain information for filing a claim against the proper state. We will also register you for employment services.
The claim filing process contains PDFs that may need to be printed and Adobe Acrobat Reader will be required. A free software download is available. Please ensure this software is available prior to beginning the claim filing process
Georgia law requires all applicants for unemployment benefits who are 18 years of age or older sign an affidavit attesting they are (1) a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident or (2) a non-citizen legally present in the United States.
Individuals who are 18 years of age or older, must execute this affidavit whether the claim is filed via the Internet or in a GDOL career center. Individuals who are 18 years of age or older, must provide valid/unexpired government-issued picture identification to complete the affidavit. Employment Authorization Document(s) are also required for non-citizens. Your employment authorization status with the Department of Homeland Security must be verified before benefits can be paid, if eligible.
Georgia Residents: If you are filing your claim in a Georgia Department of Labor career center and have the required document(s), you may complete the affidavit the same day. Otherwise, you will receive an email providing instructions on completing the affidavit process.
Non-Georgia Residents: If you are not a resident of Georgia, you will receive an email which contains a link to the affidavit. You will need to print the affidavit, complete the required information, sign and have the affidavit notarized and mailed to the Interstate Unit at the address below which will also be in the email.
Georgia Department of Labor, Interstate Unit P.O. Box 38184 Atlanta, GA 30334
You must also mail a legible copy of your valid/unexpired, government-issued picture identification or Employment Authorization Document(s), if applicable, to the Interstate Unit at the address shown above which will also be in the email.
Failure to complete the affidavit process may result in a delay or denial of benefits.
Section 50-36-1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) requires every applicant for public benefits, including unemployment insurance (UI), who is 18 years old or older, sign an affidavit attesting that they are (1) a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident or (2) a non-citizen legally present in the United States.
Upon completing an application for UI benefits, applicants visiting a GDOL career center will be assisted with the execution of an Applicant Status Affidavit. Applicants filing for UI benefits via the Internet will receive an email within 3 to 5 days providing a date on which the applicant is to report in person to the local career center to execute the Applicant Status Affidavit. Valid/unexpired government-issued picture identification is required. You cannot receive benefits until the affidavit is accomplished.
The base period is the period of time we look at to determine if you have been paid enough wages to establish a claim. For Georgia, the base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed at the time you file your claim. An alternative base period consisting of the most recently completed four calendar quarters will be used only when a claim cannot be established using the regular base period.
Your claim is based on insured wages earned in the base period, which is the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed at the time you file your claim. You must have earned qualifying wages in at least two of the four quarters in the base period. The total wages in the base period must equal or exceed one and one-half times the wages in the highest quarter. A secondary calculation will be made when the sole reason that a claim cannot be established is the one and one-half times requirement. An alternative base period consisting of the most recently completed four calendar quarters will be used only when a claim cannot be established using the regular base period.
Effective July 1, 2007, the minimum is $44 per week. The maximum is $330 for claims filed on or after July 1, 2008. The amount an individual will receive is based on the amount of wages earned in the base period.
Prior to July 1, 2012, the maximum number of weeks is 26. Effective July 1, 2012, the maximum number of weeks a claim can be established will range from 14 to 20, depending on the seasonal adjusted statewide unemployment rate in use at the time the regular UI claim is filed. For claims filed from July 1 through December 31, Georgia’s seasonal adjusted UI rate for the previous April will be used. For claims filed from January 1 through June 30, Georgia’s seasonal adjusted UI rate for the previous October will be used. The minimum number of weeks is 6.
The date the claim is filed will determine this for you. The chart below provides the maximum number of weeks the claim can potentially be established based upon the unemployment rate in effect at the time the claim is filed.
Seasonal Adjusted UI Rate less than or equal to 6.5%
Maximum Number of Weeks: 14 Maximum Benefits Payable will Equal the least of: 14 x Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) or 1/4 of Base Period Wages
Seasonal Adjusted UI Rate greater than 6.5% up to 7.0%
Maximum Number of Weeks: 15 Maximum Benefits Payable will Equal the least of: 15 x WBA or 1/4 of Base Period wages
Seasonal Adjusted UI Rate greater than 7.0% up to 7.5%
Maximum Number of Weeks: 16 Maximum Benefits Payable will Equal the least of: 16 x WBA or 1/4 of Base Period wages
Seasonal Adjusted UI Rate greater than 7.5% up to 8.0%
Maximum Number of Weeks: 17 Maximum Benefits Payable will Equal the least of: 17 x WBA or 1/4 of Base Period wages
Seasonal Adjusted UI Rate greater than 8.0% up to 8.5%
Maximum Number of Weeks: 18 Maximum Benefits Payable will Equal the least of: 18 x WBA or 1/4 of Base Period wages
Seasonal Adjusted UI Rate greater than 8.5% but less than 9.0%
Maximum Number of Weeks: 19 Maximum Benefits Payable will Equal the least of: 19 x WBA or 1/4 of Base Period wages
Seasonal Adjusted UI Rate 9.0% or above
Maximum Number of Weeks: 20 Maximum Benefits Payable will Equal the least of: 20 x WBA or 1/4 of Base Period wages
The Georgia Legislature passed House Bill 347 which changes the calculation method to determine the maximum number of weeks to be based upon the adjusted statewide unemployment rate in use at the time the regular UI claim is filed. The change became effective July 1, 2012.
No. The individual’s base period wages are used to determine the maximum benefits payable which may or may not qualify an individual for the maximum number of weeks. The maximum benefits payable to an individual in a benefit year is the least of the maximum number of weeks times the weekly benefit amount or one-fourth of the base period wages.
An Unemployment Benefit Determination is mailed to claimants when an initial claim is filed on or after July 1, 2012. The determination will provide the rate for your claim filing period. The current rate for a specified claim filing period may also be obtained by contacting UI Customer Service at 404-232-3001 or 1-877-709-8185.
No. An unemployment claim will be established using the unemployment rate in effect at the time of filing the claim. The claim will not be recalculated if the unemployment rate changes during the life of the claim.
Just earning enough money to set up a claim is not enough to receive unemployment benefits. You must also meet other eligibility conditions. You must have a decision made on the reason for separation from your last work. If your most recent job loss was not the result of a lack of work (i.e. layoff, business closure), a decision on the reason for separation is required. A department employee may conduct a telephone interview with you and your former employer to get information about the reason for your separation or any other issues which might affect your claim. A written decision will be mailed to you, and to your employer if the issue is separation. Other requirements include, but are not limited to, being able to work, being available for work, and actively seeking work.
If you quit, you may be eligible to draw benefits if you can show that you quit for good work-connected reason(s). Examples of good work-connected reasons are material change in working conditions, material change in working agreement, nonpayment for work, and similar reasons. You will not be able to draw benefits if your reason for quitting was personal even though the personal reason was a good or compelling one. The only way to know for sure whether you are eligible if you quit is to file a claim. The department cannot make a predetermination of eligibility before a claim is filed.
If you were fired from your job, you will not be able to draw benefits if your former employer can show that you were fired for failure to follow rules, orders, or instructions, or for misconduct on the job. The only way to know for sure whether you are eligible if you are fired is to file a claim. The department cannot make a predetermination of eligibility before a claim is filed.
Yes. If you are awarded benefits based on your reason for separation from your last work, you must meet other weekly requirements. You must be able to do some kind of work that is available in your area and that you are qualified to do. You must be available for work without placing undue restrictions on your availability, such as lack of child care, lack of transportation, or other restrictions. You must be actively seeking work each week and you must be looking for full-time employment. As a part of your weekly certification, you must submit three new verifiable job contacts for each week of benefits claimed. You must not refuse any offer of suitable work or referral to suitable work without good cause. You must be registered for work with the department's Employment Service Division, and you must respond to any notices to come in for services. If you work and earn any money while you are drawing benefits, you must report all earnings for the week in which the money is earned, not for the week the money is paid. Any amount over $50 earned during a week will be deducted from your weekly benefit amount if you filed your claim on or after July 1, 2002. Any amount over $30 will be deducted if you filed your claim on or before June 30, 2002.
You are usually not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits during a period covered by severance pay paid to you by your employer. The only way to know for sure whether severance pay is disqualifying is to file a claim.
If you are receiving a retirement pension from a base period employer, the pension may be deductible from your weekly benefit amount if your employer contributed 50% or more toward the pension fund. If the pension payment is determined to be deductible, the department will reduce your weekly benefit amount dollar for dollar by the weekly amount of the pension that is attributable to the employer. NOTE: If your pension is from an employer you worked for before the base period, it is not deductible. The receipt of Social Security is also not deductible, although you do have to be available for full-time work.
Once you file your claim, you will be required to certify your eligibility for each week you claim benefits and submit your work search for each week of benefits claimed. You may claim benefits using the telephone interactive voice response system, over the Internet, or in person at a GDOL Career Center.
Payments can be made by direct deposit or debit card. The preferred method is direct deposit into your personal checking or savings account. If you do not enroll in direct deposit, payments will be deposited to your Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard® which works likes a standard debit card. Payments by paper checks are no longer issued.
You must update your address with the Georgia department of Labor (GDOL) immediately. You can update your address and contact information online or in person at your local career center.
For your protection, your identity must be verified when you report an address change. This ensures you receive all correspondence from the GDOL regarding your unemployment benefits. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward any GDOL UI mail, even if you have completed a change of address with your post office.
If you have a pending appeal when your address changes, you must also notify the Appeals Tribunal by any of the following methods:
The Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard®, operated by GoProgram® and issued by Comerica Bank, is one of two fast and reliable methods to receive unemployment benefit payments. The card is valid for three years. Individuals eligible to receive unemployment benefits during the three-year period will not receive a new card. One free replacement card may be issued each 12-month period for lost or stolen cards.
You should immediately call UI Debit MasterCard® Customer Service at 1.888.929.2460 or visit the GoProgram® website to activate your debit card account. Be sure to check your card balance before using the card. Do not spend more than the amount of funds posted to your account.
You are responsible for securing your Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard® issued by Comerica Bank. Securing the card means that the card and the PIN are never kept together, the card is kept in a secure location, and the PIN is not known by anyone but you. If your card security is compromised, you must also change your unemployment insurance claim PIN immediately even if you are not currently filing weekly claims for benefits. If you fail to report the loss of the card and change the PIN immediately, or fail to secure the card, you will be liable for claims made and money removed from the card.
All account disputes should be directed to the UI Debit MasterCard® Customer Service at 1.888.929.2460. You should contact UI Debit MasterCard® Customer Service as soon as you can if you think your transaction activity or receipt is wrong, or if you need more information about a transfer on the transaction activity or receipt.
Yes. Any unemployment insurance benefits you receive are fully taxable income if you are required to file a tax return. At the time you file your claim, you may elect to have the department withhold state and/or federal tax on the benefits you receive. You may change this withholding election one time during the year. The department will send you a 1099-G form at the end of the calendar year showing how much in benefits you received during the previous year. It also shows the amount of taxes, if any, that were withheld. You should use this form when you file your income taxes to report benefits received and any taxes withheld by the department. Questions about filing should be directed to the IRS, to the State Department of Revenue, or to a tax consultant.
The department will release a determination on each separate issue on your claim. As a result, you may sometimes receive more than one determination. A decision imposing any kind of disqualification takes precedence over a decision allowing benefits. For example, you could receive a decision allowing benefits because you were laid off due to lack of work, but be ineligible because you do not have child care to enable you to look for another job.
The only way for a decision to be reviewed and potentially reversed is to file an appeal. You have the right to file an appeal of any decision made by the department on your claim. The appeal rights expire 15 days after the date the decision is released. The Commissioner of Labor does not have the authority to intervene in the appeals process. If the decision is on your separation from work, your employer also has the right to appeal. An administrative hearing officer will conduct the appeal.
An appeal request must be in writing and can be submitted by email, fax, mail or hand delivered to a Georgia Department of Labor Career Center. The contact information to submit your timely appeal request can be found on your determination notice. The written request must include, at a minimum, the name of the claimant, the social security number contained on the determination being appealed and some indication of intent to file an appeal.
Once an appeal is filed, it usually takes from 2 - 2 1/2 weeks for a hearing to take place. The department is required to send written notice of the hearing time, date, and all issues to be discussed. This notice must be mailed at least 10 days before the hearing takes place. A written decision is mailed to all interested parties.
You may appeal to the Board of Review. The Board is a three-member panel appointed by the Governor. The Board reviews the entire record of the hearing held by the administrative hearing officer and all other relevant materials. The Board does not hold in-person hearings and does not take new evidence or testimony. The Board reviews the case and either affirms, modifies, or reverses the decision of the hearing officer. The Board's written decision is mailed to all interested parties.
The appeal must be in writing and it should be sent directly to the Board of Review (the address is on the decision received from the Appeals Tribunal). If your appeal is sent to the career center, or appealed in person at the career center, processing will be delayed until it can be forwarded.
The Board's decision may be appealed to the Superior Court of the county in which the work was performed. A petition for review must be filed with the court. The department does not file these appeals. If the work on which the claim was based was performed out of state, the appeal of the decision of the Board of Review must be filed in Fulton County Superior Court.