COVID-19 Individual FAQs
Last updated 04/28/20
Can I receive benefits if my employer sent me home because of COVID-19?
If your employer sent you home due to a lack of work because of COVID-19 and is not paying you for your time off, you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Only workers who are not being paid or who are being paid for reduced hours due to COVID-19 are eligible to receive benefits. You must report gross wages earned and any leave pay as earnings for each week claimed for benefits.
I am still working, but my employer reduced my hours. Can I receive benefits?
Individuals whose hours have been reduced are eligible to receive benefits if your gross earnings plus the earnings allowance does not exceed your weekly benefit amount. You are required to report your gross earnings for the hours worked each week (the amount of your pay before deductions). You must report any vacation pay, holiday pay, and/or earnings during the week in which it was earned, NOT the week it was paid. If your employer files a claim on your behalf, they are required to report your gross earnings,
All weekly earnings over $300.00 are deducted dollar for dollar from the benefit payment for week ending dates on or after 3/29/2020. The earnings allowance was $50.00 for week ending dates prior to 3/29/2020.
If my employer is filing a claim for me, do I need to file too to make sure I receive benefits?
If your employer is filing an employer filed partial claim on your behalf, you DO NOT need to file a claim.
If you quit your job or voluntarily chose to stay out of work due to COVID-19, YOU MUST FILE YOUR OWN CLAIM. Your employer cannot file for you.
When will I receive my payments?
Unemployment benefits are paid on a weekly basis. Your payment will be released within 24-48 hours after your employer files an employer filed partial claim on your behalf. If you file your own claim, your payments will be released once a written determination to allow benefits is released.
How will I receive my payments?
You may receive benefit payments by debit card or direct deposit. A Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard® will be mailed to you. Your Social Security Number (SSN) and date of birth are required to activate the card. Once the card is activated, you may use it anywhere MasterCard is accepted to make purchases or withdraw funds.
If you wish to receive your payment by direct deposit, you must enter your direct deposit information on the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) website by selecting UI Benefit Payments Method under Individuals on the Online Services page. A PIN can be set up here.
After your employer files a claim on your behalf, please follow these instructions to establish a PIN:
- Go to dol.georgia.gov.
- Select UI Benefit Payments Methods.
- Enter your Social Security Number and set up a PIN.
- Enter a 4-digit PIN of your choice in the field labeled "If you need to set up a PIN, enter it here."
- Re-enter your 4-digit PIN in the field labeled "Reenter for verification."
- Click on the Continue button.
NOTE: If you do not have Internet access to set up direct deposit, you must receive your payments via debit card. The GDOL staff cannot set up direct deposit for you.
Will taxes be withheld from my payments?
You have the option of having federal and/or state income taxes withheld from your benefit payments. Tell your employer whether or not you want taxes withheld. If so, the GDOL will withhold 10% for federal and 6% for state taxes.
How much will I receive?
The GDOL must determine if you earned enough wages during the base period. The regular base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters at the time you file your claim. If your claim cannot be established using the regular base period, the alternative base period will be used. The alternative base period is the last four completed calendar quarters at the time you file your claim.
After meeting the wage requirements, your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is calculated as follows:
Regular WBA Calculation
Total Wages in 2 Highest Quarters = WBA (disregard cents)
Total Wages in Highest Quarter = WBA (disregard cents)
What do I do if I do not receive my debit card, or if I lose my card?
Call the Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard® at 1.888.929.2460 to report a card as lost or stolen card. One free replacement card may be issued in a 12-month period.
UI Debit MasterCard® Customer Service handles all inquiries regarding the debit card including cards not received, lost or stolen. UI Debit MasterCard® Customer Service does not have access to any claim or payment information. Claim inquiries should be directed to the Georgia Department of Labor.
Am I required to search for work and report to GDOL while unemployed due to COVID-19?
All work search requirements mandated by O.C.G.A. Section 34-8-195(3)(A) are waived for all claims filed on or after March 14, 2020 per emergency rule until further notice.
Can educational workers receive benefits?
Individuals who perform services for, with, to, or on behalf of an educational institution and are out of work as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Individuals who are being paid or will be paid by their employer for the break period must report their gross earnings for each week claimed. Educational workers should make sure their employer will not file claims on their behalf prior to filing their own claim.
Are extended unemployment benefits available?
Only the President of the United States and the U.S. Congress can enact legislation to extend UI benefits. We are waiting on information from the USDOL to see how the CARES Act will apply in Georgia. This bill will extend unemployment benefits an additional 13 weeks.
Am I eligible to receive unemployment benefits if my employer has not laid me off, but I decided to stay home for fear of exposure to COVID-19?
Eligibility in such cases must be determined on a case-by-case basis. If you voluntarily chose not to go to work, you must file your own claim. Your employer cannot file for you. GDOL will review your claim and determine your eligibility.
I am a claimant trainee. How do I submit my weekly certifications since the career centers are closed to the public?
You may email, fax, or mail your certification to your career center. The career center information is located on the GDOL website at dol.georgia.gov under Find a Career Center.
As a claimant trainee, how am I supposed to meet the requirement of having a school official sign my form every four weeks since my school is closed?
The requirement for the registrar to sign the form every four (4) weeks is waived until further notice. Write "<Name of School> closed due to COVID-19" in the blank for the registrar’s signature.
Why is my additional FPUC payment not $600?
Your payment may not be the full $600 if you have elected to have state and federal taxes deducted. Federal taxes are deducted at 10% and state taxes at 6%. Unemployment benefits are taxable income. Other deductions may include court ordered or voluntary child support or repayment of an UI overpayment (one-half of your $600 PFUC payment will be deducted and applied to your outstanding overpayment).
Why have I not received my additional $600 FPUC payment?
The GDOL started issuing payments on Monday, April 13, 2020 for those currently receiving state benefits and will continue to issue them this week.