GDOL COVID-19 Information
February 22, 2021
The State Extended Benefits (SEB) program is ending. 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) has been 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 is February 6, 2021. Any eligible payments for week ending dates after February 6, 2021, will no longer be 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, provides an additional 11 weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) for qualified individuals. The additional benefits are only payable for weeks ending January 2, 2021 through March 13, 2021 with a phase out period. The phase out period allows a continuation of PEUC payments to individuals who have a PEUC balance after week ending March 13, 2021 and continue to meet the eligibility requirements. SEB claimants who continue to be unemployed or partially unemployed after week ending date February 6, 2021 and remain eligible, will have 11 additional weeks added to their previous PEUC claim and resume receipt of PEUC. PEUC payments will be issued as quickly as possible.
Timeline for Continued Assistance Act (CAA)
The GDOL continues to update its system to implement the newest extensions for the Continued Assistance Act. These updates are being implemented in phases.
- Continued payments for those PUA and PEUC claimants who had NOT exhausted benefits on or before 12/26/2020 and continued to request a payment – PAYMENTS RELEASED, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement
- Continued payments for those on SEB who had NOT exhausted benefits on or before 12/26/2020 and continued to request a payment – PAYMENTS RELEASED, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement
- Continued payments for those who exhausted SEB on or after 12/27/2020 and were moved back to PEUC for the additional 11 weeks – PAYMENTS RELEASED, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement
- Payments for regular UI claimants who exhausted on or after 1/10/2021 and will move to PEUC and establish a claim for 24 weeks – PAYMENTS RELEASED, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement
- Payments for PUA claimants who are moving to PEUC – PAYMENTS RELEASED, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement
- Payments for SEB claimants who exhausted before 12/26/2020 and continued to request weekly payments will move to PEUC for an additional 11 weeks – Payments to release by 02/03/21, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement
- Payments for PUA claimants who exhausted before 12/26/2020 and continued to request weekly payments – Payments began to be issued 02/03/21, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement. If you are asked to verify your identity, please do so. This is an additional requirement for PUA applicants per the CAA extension.
- Claims for PEUC claimants who already filed an application will establish a claim for 24 weeks after their claim is processed. Eligible payments will be released after processing.
- Claims for PUA claimants who already filed an application will establish a claim for up to 50 weeks after their claim is processed. Eligible payments will be released after processing.
- Payments for PEUC claimants that have two PEUC claims and are currently receiving payments on the newest PEUC claim will go back to the oldest PEUC claim to be paid – Payments to release by late February, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement
- Payments for PEUC claimants that have reapplied for UI due to their benefit year ending – Payments to release by late February, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement
- Payments for SEB claimants that exhausted and have two PEUC claims from different benefit years and continued to request a weekly payment – Payments to release by late February, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement
- Payments for SEB claimants that have exhausted and did not continue to request weekly payments. Additional application may be required. – Payments to release in March, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement
- Payments for PUA claimants that have exhausted before 12/26/2020 and did not continue to request weekly payments. Additional application may be required. – Payments to release in March, including the $300 FPUC weekly supplement
Please continue to check your My UI portal for individual updates on your claim. Based on the regulations of the new legislation, your claim may be moved from one program to another, your weeks of eligibility may be extended, or your weekly benefit amount may be adjusted if you are moving from PUA to PEUC. If additional information is needed, you will be given instructions in your My UI portal. Thank you for being patient as we implement these very complicated guidelines and issue payments as quickly as possible.
PUA - Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
PEUC - Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
FPUC - Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
SEB - State Extended Benefits
Update on Federal Stimulus Bill
The GDOL began issuing 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.
Claimants should not file a new claim if they have exhausted benefits, but should continue to request weekly payments. 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.
The CAA extends 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 expires on March 14, 2021. This means that the last payable week for PUA is week-ending March 13, 2021. Individuals who receive a PUA payment for week-ending March 13, 2021 and have a remaining balance on their claim, may be eligible to participate in a phaseout period and may continue to collect PUA through week-ending April 10, 2021. The law also strengthens documentation requirements to ensure PUA program integrity. This includes verification of identity and may require a claimant to verify with ID.me.
Individuals determined ineligible to be paid traditional state benefits will receive an email with instructions for filing a PUA application or will find a link to the application in their My UI portal. Once the PUA application is submitted, it will be reviewed for eligibility and a written determination will be released with appeal rights. Applicants need to request payment for all eligible weeks since the closing of their business due to COVID-19. See detailed instructions on PUA.
The PEUC provides an extension to regular Unemployment Insurance benefits. This extension adds 24 weeks of benefits to the end of regular unemployment benefits for those who are eligible. Claimants are potentially eligible if they have been unemployed between March 29, 2020 through March 13, 2021 and have exhausted regular state benefits after July 1, 2019. Individuals must be ineligible for state or federal benefits and able and available to work. Individuals who receive a PEUC payment for week-ending March 13, 2021 and have a remaining balance on their claim, may be eligible to participate in a phaseout period and may continue to collect PEUC through week-ending April 10, 2021. Additionally, the eligibility requirements for this program requires individuals to be able and available to work.
Additionally, the FPUC program, which initially expired July 31, 2020, is reauthorized and modified to provide $300 payment per week to supplement benefits for weeks ending Jan. 2, 2021 through March 13, 2021. FPUC is payable for each week ending date in which an individual receives at least $1 in state or federal benefits. There is no phaseout period for this program.
Your payment may not be $300 weekly if you have 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), is part of President Trump's executive order to extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits.
Claimants who qualify for the LWA program are issued supplemental payments for all eligible weeks. The program period includes six weeks, which are weeks ending Aug. 1 though Sept. 5, 2020. LWA is a program that receives 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), is an extension of benefits that occurs when a state meets 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.
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, will be notified in writing of the program availability and an SEB Statement of Potential Benefit Amounts will be 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.