Many Georgians still not receiving unemployment benefits

The Georgia Department of Labor reports that 92 percent of valid claims have received unemployment benefits in the past 19 weeks. But if you are in the eight percent still waiting for money, the situation can be dire.

Joe Gandy lost his job May 11, and there was immediately a problem with his unemployment claim. 

“I found out my employer had a computer glitch and didn’t report wages for 2019, so my original unemployment claim was denied on that basis,” said Gandy who worked for his former employer for 26 years.  

But, it was quickly resolved with supporting paperwork, so by early June, DOL was working on his appeal.  

“Then it was a waiting game,” he added. 

Debbie Storm lost her job, too. And like thousands of others who lost jobs after the global pandemic hit, she applied for unemployment benefits. 

“I got a letter June 13 that I got the benefits. I got the prepaid card to get the benefits, but to this date there has been zero dollars deposited,” the Covington resident said. 

Right after we visited Ms. Storm, she was evicted from her home. She’s relying on friends for food, she said. She told the FOX 5 I-Team that she calls and emails the labor department but has gotten nowhere. 

“I’ve been down to the Department of Labor maybe three times thinking maybe somebody will show up, but they don’t.” 

“My appeal was assigned,” Mr. Gandy said, “and I was told it could take anywhere from a month to two months to have any kind of a hearing schedule.” 

That’s right. It might take until mid September to get someone to take a look at this long-corrected paperwork. 

“We are at the end of our emergency funds and it’s getting real scary for us.”

The Gandys were unable to afford the expensive COBRA insurance after he lost his job, so he's been uninsured. The worst-case scenario happened: His wife had a medical emergency and spent three days in the hospital. Medical bills are now mounting. 

After the FOX 5 I-Team reached out to the Georgia DOL, Mr. Gandy and Ms. Storm heard from the department. Their cases have been flagged, but not yet resolved.