State officials are trying to figure out how to meet Georgia's unemployment insurance obligations. Officials say the fund is running out of money, and more than 191,000 Georgians received unemployment insurance payments last week. The state owes the federal government more than $600 million dollars.
Laid-off workers filing for unemployment benefits rose by more than 18 percent in January over the month before. 89,659 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in January, an increase of 14,024, or 18.5 percent, from 75,635 in December. But, there was a decline of 5,605, or 5.9 percent, from 95,264 claims filed in January 2010.
Unemployment in Georgia continues above the national average. That meant the State had to borrow money from the federal government to help pay benefits. The debt is rising and the state will soon have to pay interest.
State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond announced Thursday that federal extended unemployment insurance benefits are now being paid to nearly 91,000 jobless Georgians. The law extends the qualifying time for eligible recipients from June 2 through Nov. 30. Checks mailed today to Georgians totaled more than $76 million.
The U.S. Senate voted to extend unemployment benefits Tuesday and this week the measure is up for a vote in the House. The decision could bring some much needed relief to hundreds of thousands of out of work Georgians.