Dept. of Labor commissioner discuses high unemployment demand

The Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler spoke to FOX 5 about the overwhelming demand for unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

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This comes as dozens of complaints have flooded into our newsroom from employees and employers who are wondering why they still haven’t received their benefits.

According to the DOL’s website, payments will be released within 24 to 48 hours after the employer files a claim.

SEE ALSO: How to file for unemployment in Georgia if your job has been impacted by COVID-19

FOX 5 spoke to Commissioner Mark Butler who says that’s not the case at all.

“There’s no possible way to fully process and get paid in that amount of time,” said Commissioner Butler. “You’re probably right, some of that messaging we could probably finesse a little better.”

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But some employers and employees haven’t been able to get those answers until now.

“It’s frustrating not having answers for them because for a lot them, this is their livelihood,” said an employer who wanted to remain anonymous.

In addition, Governor Kemp telling FOX 5 on Wednesday that some benefits are delayed because the state is waiting on federal guidelines.

“The U.S Department of Labor are supposed to be getting those guidelines to us for the gig workers and 1099 workers,” said Gov. Kemp.

SEE ALSO: Fixing the PIN on the Georgia Department of Labor website to access unemployment claims

In the meantime, Commissioner Butlers says they are working to process claims as quickly as possible and working towards a quicker and more efficient process.

“We’re going to win this with technology, not more bodies. Some the things we are doing is making this a whole lot faster”

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“But at the end of the day, you still have people who haven’t been paid, they can’t pay their bills or feed their family. What is your message to them?” asked FOX 5 Reporter Elizabeth Rawlins. “I know two weeks seems like a long time, but we are trying to speed up a process that would normally take three weeks,” the commissioner responded.

“I would just tell people to be patient and as soon as we know something on that section of the unemployed, we will get that out,” said Gov. Kemp.

Commissioner Butler admits the message could have been more clear online about the estimated two to three time period it will likely take to claim state benefits. For those who don’t qualify for state but qualify for federal, it may just take a little bit longer.

Those waiting to claim their benefits should continue checking their account and status on the Georgia Department of Labor’s website.

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  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
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  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces


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