GDOL COVID-19 Information
October 07, 2021
The federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program ended in Georgia with week ending June 26, 2021.
However, claimants may be eligible for reconsideration of a denied PUA claim based on expanded allowable reasons provided by the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 (Continued Assistance Act). PUA is only payable for weeks in which an individual is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable because of COVID-19. If a claimant did not initially meet the eligibility requirements in effect when he/she applied, they could potentially now apply for reconsideration based on the provisions of the Continued Assistance Act. A claimant's eligibility for reconsideration is based upon the effective date of the initial PUA claim. A link to the reconsideration application will be placed in a claimant's My UI portal ONLY IF he/she is potentially eligible for reconsideration. The claimant would select Apply for Reconsideration of Denied PUA Eligibility to submit his/her application. Once the application is processed, the claimant will receive information providing next step instructions.
If a claimant is determined to be allowed PUA benefits, he/she cannot be paid for any week ending after June 26, 2021, the end date of the Georgia PUA program.
Any person who knowingly makes a false statement or misrepresentation or who knowingly fails to disclose a material fact in order to obtain or increase benefits for which you are not entitled shall be considered to have committed fraud and will be subject to criminal prosecution.
PUA Proof Submittal
The Continued Assistance Act of 2020 requires individuals who received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits on or after December 27, 2020, to provide proof of employment/self-employment or a valid offer to begin employment and proof of wages. While PUA claimants were previously only required to provide proof of wages documentation, this new federal requirement to provide proof of employment documentation is a fraud prevention measure.
The deadline to submit PUA proof is August 14, 2021. Claimants must provide proof that they were employed/self-employed and earned wages at some point between the start of the previous completed tax year (January 2019) through the date of their PUA application to show attachment to the labor market at the time the COVID-19 pandemic started or that the claimant had an offer to begin employment or start self-employment but could not do so as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If a claimant fails to respond timely and/or provide sufficient documentation, eligibility will be reconsidered. The claimant will be denied and required to repay all PUA benefits received during the denial period. In addition, he/she may face possible criminal prosecution if it is determined the claimant misrepresented facts to receive PUA benefits for which he/she was not entitled.
See more information view the spotlight PUA Proof Submittal.
Federal UI Program Update
Effective June 27, 2021, the Georgia Department of Labor returned to pre-pandemic, state unemployment operations.
In accordance with Governor Brian Kemp and Commissioner Mark Butler’s plan for reemployment and economic recovery, effective June 27, 2021, Georgia will no longer participate in the federal unemployment programs enacted through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. These programs include Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC). The last payable week for these programs was week ending June 26, 2021. All eligible payments under any of these federal programs for week ending dates on or before June 26, 2021 will continue to be processed and issued to qualified individuals.
View the Joint Press Release
Here’s What Georgia Unemployment Insurance Looks Like Effective June 27, 2021.
To be eligible for state Unemployment Insurance (UI), individuals must:
- Be unemployed through no fault of their own.
- Be monetarily eligible (have enough wages from past employers to qualify).
- Be able to work.
- Be available for work.
- Actively seek work.
- Report your weekly work search.
- Be registered with Employ Georgia.
- Not refuse suitable work, if offered.
- Georgia regulations allow claimants to receive up to 26 weeks of UI benefits.
- Eligible claimants will receive a weekly benefit amount ranging from $55 to $365 per week, based on their previous earnings.
GDOL provides extensive online support to job seekers looking to rejoin the workforce. Claimants receive access to Employ Georgia’s job listings, résumé assistance, career counseling, skills testing, job fair information, job training services, and accessibility and special accommodations for people with disabilities and veterans transitioning back into the workplace.
Reporting Your Work Search
Your work search record must show that you made a minimum of three new, verifiable job search contacts each week. Your work search record is subject to random audit by the GDOL at any time. You will be denied benefits for any week(s) you do not meet these requirements, make a false statement, or misrepresent facts. You will be responsible for repaying benefits you received during the denial period.
Beginning Sunday July 4, 2021 claimants must submit three new, verifiable job search contacts including those made in-person, by telephone, mail, online, fax, or email. These contacts generally must be made with three different employers each week. However, contacts with the same employer during a different week may be made if it is a contact that results in getting you a step closer to obtaining the job.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
What It Is: Benefits for those who would not usually qualify, such as the self-employed, gig workers, and part-time workers who have been unable to work as a direct result of COVID-19. This includes individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 or instructed to quarantine.
How It Is Changing: Beginning June 27, 2021, PUA will no longer be available in Georgia. Any claims for benefits filed for weeks of unemployment ending prior to June 27, 2021 will include PUA benefits if an individual is eligible.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
What It Is: Extension of unemployment benefits for claimants beyond the traditional 14 weeks. PEUC allowed claimants to extend their time on unemployment where they normally would have expired.
How It Is Changing: Beginning June 27, 2021, PEUC will no longer be available in Georgia, and claimants who have exhausted their regular UI benefits will no longer be eligible for payments. Any claims for benefits filed for weeks of unemployment ending prior to June 27, 2021 will include PEUC benefits if an individual is eligible.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
What It Is: $300 weekly supplemental benefit for all types of unemployment assistance.
How It Is Changing: Beginning June 27, 2021, FPUC will no longer be available in Georgia. Any claims for benefits filed for weeks of unemployment ending prior to June 27, 2021 will include FPUC benefits if an individual is eligible.
Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)
What It Is: $100 weekly add-on benefit for those who are eligible for regular UI benefits, but also earned self-employment income.
How It Is Changing: Beginning June 27, 2021, MEUC will no longer be available in Georgia. Any claims for benefits for weeks of unemployment filed prior to June 27, 2021 will include MEUC benefits if an individual is eligible.
Benefit Year Ending
If a claimant's benefit year ends, he/she will need to file a new individual claim. A benefit year is the 52-week period beginning on the Sunday of the week a new claim is filed. Once this time period expires, claimants must reapply for benefits reporting any additional work history, including temporary, part-time, self-employment, or W-2 work. Once the new regular UI claim is processed, claimants who are unable to establish a valid claim, will be placed back into the appropriate federal CARES Act program for the new extensions to be applied.
If your employer is requesting weekly payments on your behalf each week and your benefit year is up, the next week your employer requests a payment, your benefit year will renew.
Claimants should not file a new claim if they have exhausted benefits, but should continue to request weekly payments, unless their benefit year has ended. Claimants should also continue to request weekly payments if they are waiting on determinations on eligibility. Determinations are continuing to be issued for claimants awaiting eligibility decisions when a job separation is other than lack of work or includes other potential issues that can affect eligibility, such as receipt of severance or retirement pay, refusal to accept suitable job offers, or failure to return to work. All eligible payments will be issued when a decision on eligibility is released, including any additional weeks of benefits a claimant could potentially be eligible for with the implementation of the new program extensions.
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA)
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law March 11, 2021 to extend unemployment benefits for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) programs through September 6, 2021. In accordance with Governor Brian Kemp and Commissioner Mark Butler’s plan for reemployment and economic recovery, effective June 27, 2021, Georgia will no longer participate in the federal unemployment programs enacted through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. FPUC will remain a $300 weekly supplement for weeks ending January 2, 2021 through June 26, 2021, as appropriate and is subject to deductions for federal and state tax withholdings, child support, and overpayment recoveries.
The Continued Assistance Act of 2020 requires individuals who received PUA benefits on or after 12/27/2020 to provide proof of employment/self-employment or a valid offer to begin employment along with proof of wages. The deadline to upload proof into your My UI portal is 08/06/21. For more information and all accepted documents, see the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) page.
The GDOL encourages claimants to keep contact information updated so we may notify you of program updates. Make sure email addresses and mailing addresses are accurate in your My UI portal.
The State Extended Benefits (SEB) program ended. By law, the SEB program becomes available for payment in a state when the state’s 13 week insured unemployment rate (IUR) is above 5.0%. The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) was informed by the US Department of Labor (USDOL) that Georgia’s 13-week IUR fell below the 5.0% threshold for the SEB program to remain available for payment(s). Therefore, the last payable week ending date was February 6, 2021. Any eligible payments for week ending dates after February 6, 2021, are no longer payable under the SEB program. Claimants who are later determined to be eligible for week ending date(s) on or before February 6, 2021, will be paid SEB for those weeks.
The Continued Assistance Act, signed into law December 27, 2020, provided an additional 11 weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) for qualified individuals. The additional benefits were only payable for weeks ending January 2, 2021 through March 13, 2021 with a phase out period. The phase out period allowed a continuation of PEUC payments to individuals who had a PEUC balance after week ending March 13, 2021 and continued to meet the eligibility requirements. SEB claimants who continued to be unemployed or partially unemployed after week ending date February 6, 2021 and remained eligible, had an additional 11 weeks added to their previous PEUC claim and resumed receipt of PEUC.
Continued Assistance Act (CAA)
The GDOL issued payments for claimants for week ending January 2, 2021, as part of the Continued Assistance Act (CAA) included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
The CAA extended the PUA program created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides UI benefits to gig workers and others not traditionally eligible for them. CAA increased the maximum amount of benefits available under the PUA program from 39 weeks to 50 weeks. The PUA program as part of CAA expired on March 14, 2021. This means that the last payable week for PUA was week-ending March 13, 2021. Individuals who received a PUA payment for week-ending March 13, 2021 and have a remaining balance on their claim, could have been eligible to participate in a phaseout period and could have continued to collect PUA through week-ending April 10, 2021. The law also strengthened documentation requirements to ensure PUA program integrity. This included verification of identity and could have required a claimant to verify with ID.me.
Individuals determined ineligible to be paid traditional state benefits received an email with instructions for filing a PUA application or found a link to the application in their My UI portal. Once the PUA application was submitted, it was reviewed for eligibility and a written determination was released with appeal rights. Applicants needed to request payment for all eligible weeks since the closing of their business due to COVID-19.
The PEUC as part of CAA provided an extension to regular Unemployment Insurance benefits. This extension added 24 weeks of benefits to the end of regular unemployment benefits for those who are eligible. Claimants were potentially eligible if they had been unemployed between March 29, 2020 through March 13, 2021 and had exhausted regular state benefits after July 1, 2019. Individuals must have been ineligible for state or federal benefits and able and available to work. Individuals who received a PEUC payment for week-ending March 13, 2021 and had a remaining balance on their claim, may have been eligible to participate in a phaseout period and continued to collect PEUC through week-ending April 10, 2021. Additionally, the eligibility requirements for this program required individuals to be able and available to work.
Additionally, the FPUC program as part of CAA, which initially expired July 31, 2020, was reauthorized and modified to provide $300 payment per week to supplement benefits for weeks ending Jan. 2, 2021 through March 13, 2021. FPUC was payable for each week ending date in which an individual received at least $1 in state or federal benefits. There was no phaseout period for this program.
Your payment may not have been $300 weekly if you elected to have state/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 $300 FPUC payment will be deducted and applied to your outstanding overpayment).
Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)
As part of the Continued Assistance Act (CAA), MEUC provides $100 in extra benefits to individuals with at least $5,000 in net income from self-employment that are currently receiving an unemployment benefit from a program other than PUA.
You must meet the following requirements to be eligible for MEUC:
- You must be receiving an unemployment benefit from a program other than Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
- You must be receiving an unemployment benefit for claims week(s) covered by the MEUC program, which are January 2, 2021 through March 13, 2021.
- You must have earned at least $5,000 in net income from self-employment in the applicable tax year.
- You must apply for the MEUC program and submit documentation which clearly shows $5,000 net income.
The MEUC Program is currently under development and updates on how to apply and submit documents will be posted once the program has been implemented. Benefits under the MEUC Program cannot be paid until applicants show proof of earnings and those earnings are verified.
The Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWA), was part of President Trump's executive order to extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits. Claimants who qualified for the LWA program were issued supplemental payments for all eligible weeks. The program period included six weeks, which were weeks ending Aug. 1 though Sept. 5, 2020. LWA was a program that received funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration's (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund. LWA allowed for the distribution of an additional $300 weekly supplement to any eligible individuals who received UI benefits from state/federal unemployment insurance programs.
State Extended Benefits (SEB), was an extension of benefits that occurred when a state met the unemployment rate threshold for a designated period. Georgia became eligible to pay SEB May 10, 2020. However, the first payable week ending date (WED) was July 4, 2020 based on the first payable WED of PEUC was April 4, 2020 for 13 weeks. As of July 5, 2020, Georgia began a high unemployment period in the Extended Benefits program increasing the maximum potential entitlement for claimants to 20 weeks. On Oct. 11, 2020, due to a decrease in the unemployment rate, we began a low unemployment period and decreased the maximum potential entitlement for claimants back to 13 weeks.
Georgia’s (SEB) program has now ended. By law, the SEB program becomes available for payment in a state when the state’s 13 week insured unemployment rate (IUR) is above 5.0%. The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) was informed by the US Department of Labor (USDOL) that Georgia’s 13-week IUR fell below the 5.0% threshold for the SEB program to remain available for payment(s). Therefore, the last payable week ending date was February 6, 2021. Any eligible payments for week ending dates after February 6, 2021, are no longer payable under the SEB program. Claimants who are later determined to be eligible for week ending date(s) on or before February 6, 2021, will be paid SEB for those weeks.
To qualify for SEB, individuals must have:
- Exhausted all rights to regular UI under state law;
- Ineligibility for regular UI in another state or Canada;
- Established a qualifying UI claim (with respect to the regular UI claim that exhausted);
- Exhausted PEUC;
- No disqualifications preventing SEB eligibility;
- At least one week in the benefit year that begins on or after May 10, 2020, beginning of the SEB eligibility period.
The requirements for SEB are the same as regular UI benefits. The individual's eligibility is determined by the separation from the most recent employer. Employers submitting employer filed claims are automatically the most recent employer. Additionally, the eligibility requirements for this program requires individuals to be able and available to work.
Individuals meeting the SEB requirements, as shown above, were notified in writing of the program availability and an SEB Statement of Potential Benefit Amounts were posted to the My UI page.
Employer Filed Claims
PEUC (Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation)
PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance)
This includes individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of non-profits, or those with limited work history who will not qualify for state unemployment benefits.