ATLANTA (CBS46)—With just over a week to go before Georgia’s expanded federal unemployment payments end, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is asking federal officials to investigate unemployment payment delays experienced by thousands of Georgians.
Under the current system, the $300 per week in federal jobless payments for Georgians will end on June 26.
The deadline is approaching as thousands of Georgians who became unemployed during the pandemic complain about delays in receiving their unemployment benefits.
During a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., Sen. Ossooff said, “My office has been inundated with requests for assistance from Georgians who, through no fault of their own, experienced job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite meeting eligibility criteria to receive unemployment benefits from Georgia’s Department of Labor, have experienced long, long delays in the processing and payment of their approved claims, which has sent them and their families into financial distress in the midst of a pandemic.”
According to Rep. Bourdeaux’s office, there is an estimated 80,000 backlog in unemployment claims in the state.
One of the key factors delaying Georgia’s unemployment payments, according to a report by Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, the state department of labor is relying on outdated technology.
Senator Ossoff keyed in on the technology issue at a nomination hearing.
During Robin Carnahan’s General Services Administration nomination hearing, Sen. Ossoff asked Carnahan to “help fix Georgia’s broken unemployment insurance system.”
Carnahan responded by saying every state is having to deal with technology issues as it relates to unemployment because states did not invest in technology upgrades for years, and the system became overwhelmed when the pandemic hit. Carnahan said if she is confirmed, her department will work with states to efficiently upgrade the state’s technology system.
Last month, a group of elected officials sent a letter to Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler demanding that he shares his plan to address delays in unemployment claims.
Butler said unemployed Georgians still waiting on a payment may include those who need to prove identity, those who are involved in a fraud investigation, or those who are providing additional information for an employer or wage verification.