More unemployment workers can access benefits Monday

The March unemployment figures came down yesterday from the Georgia Department of Labor. They processed more claims in seven days than in all of 2019.

That’s Georgia. Nationally, according to federal figures, in just three weeks 16 million people have filed job-loss claims, and the economy is expected to bleed more jobs.

Here’s the good news. There is a segment of the working population that hasn’t traditionally had access to unemployment benefits. Starting Monday, self-employed, contract and gig workers will officially have access. The CARES Act that provides federal benefits to folks not working will be up and running with a modified application on Monday.

This is a huge part of who will need this: the restaurant and service industries. According to the National Restaurant Association, if its member survey is indicative of what is happening nationwide, 140,000 restaurants over the next 30 days will shut down permanently.  The restaurant group says in the first 22 days of March the industry lost $25 billion in sales and 3 million jobs.

Back to accessing benefits. Listen, expect delays, long hold times, all of it, when the system fires up Monday with its most up-to-date application. The Department of Labor has online tutorials to help.

I’ll post that for you on my Facebook page Dana Fowle Fox 5. Also I know y’all have written me with very specific questions. I don’t know the answer to all of them because we are waiting for answers ourselves.

Lastly, if you have already filed for this unemployment option, don’t re-file. According to the Department of Labor they are sifting through those claims now to get them into the right category. Under the best of circumstances, it’ll take several weeks to process. If your employer has filed and there are no errors, it shouldn’t take more than a week.