Ga. Labor Commissioner: Half of 1 million unemployment claims still waiting for benefits

Many Georgians continue to wait for their unemployment benefits amid the coronavirus pandemic. Labor Commissioner Mark Butler tells FOX 5, he estimates about half of the 1 million people who have filed claims are still waiting for their benefits.

“They knew they were going to be inundated,” said Mike Zabresky who is currently unemployed.

FOX 5 continues to take calls and emails from people, like Zabresky, who are now running out of money.

“I can’t pay this past month’s rent. I’m behind on my utilities. I have food for about a week,” said Zabresky.

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Labor Commissioner Mark Butler told FOX 5 two weeks ago, the department was swamped and inundated with calls. FOX 5’s Elizabeth Rawlins followed up with Commissioner Butler on Thursday.

“We’ve created a software program from scratch,” said Commissioner Butler. “By the time we got the rules and regulations, we did that in about two weeks.”

Georgia is among many states facing similar challenges, but some states have already added personnel and call centers to handle the demand.

“We are working to add phone lines, to add call capacity,” said Commissioner Butler. “But you could add 10,000 phone lines and we still couldn’t handle the calls.”

RELATED:, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates.

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