Labor Department has 34,000 applications it can't process

New unemployment figures reveal that as of mid March one in five first-time claims have been filed. And, just last week 3.2 million Americans filed for unemployment. 

In just seven weeks, the state has processed more than $1.7 billion in both state and federal benefits. That’s astonishing in its magnitude. This means Georgia’s Department of Labor spit out nearly 1.6 million regular, initial unemployment claims. Close to half have been found to be valid – meaning you are eligible for state benefits. And of those, 84 percent have started to receive payment. 

But this leaves a segment of the population still wondering where their unemployment check is. Well, one of the biggest problems they are finding at Labor is that you may have started the process to file, but you stopped mid-stream. In fact, they have 34,000 applications sitting there waiting for you to input the weekly dates you need to be paid. 

“If you don’t ask for that payment, we don’t send it. A lot of people think that if you apply for unemployment, or at least some of them seem to be, that the money just starts coming to you. Well, because it’s basically like an insurance policy and you are certifying to us that you are still unemployed, you have to let us know,” said Commissioner Mark Butler of the Department of Labor. 

You have to certify weekly. And there are two places to do this. If it’s regular unemployment, there is a designated page. If it’s for PUA – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program – that has its down dedicated page. 

Now they are doing something unusual at Labor. They are tracking trends. Patterns. Mistakes you are making. But rather than have you call in, they are creating software to try and fix it, preemptively for you. 

“We are doing some things that we haven’t done before. We are actually working through some of those problems and trying to find ways that we can correct those for them. It’s not something we normally would do, but this is a very unique case,” the commissioner added.  

A lot of callers who are already receiving unemployment benefits are clogging the lines asking when the next one is coming. Please don’t do that. 

Also, if you are an individual filer, know that your process is longer. The state has lots of legwork to do. They have to verify you and your employment. And your employer has 10 days to respond. 

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