Georgia Unemployment Claims Top 1 Million
In the last month, the Georgia Department of Labor has processed 1,090,536 unemployment claims.
That’s more than the last three years combined. But Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to let some businesses reopen has raised new questions about who is eligible for benefits.Georgians can still collect full unemployment from the state while returning to work if they make less than $300 a week.
Under a new emergency rule, people can earn up to $300 a week working and still collect full unemployment benefits. So as businesses like gyms and salons reopen and bring employees back to work, those employees will not see a reduction in benefits as long as their pay remains below that threshold.
Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a call with reporters Thursday that it’s up to employers and employees to work together.
"I would hate to know that an employer would just have a blanket statement that, you know, hey look, you need to come back to work and not have any consideration because that person may have some health issues," he said.
Even if an employer reopens, an employee can decline to return to work if they are at higher risk for COVID-19 or caring for someone at higher risk and still collect unemployment, Butler said. The same is true for people who have no way of caring for out-of-school children.
As for federal relief, Butler said as long as a worker is collecting some unemployment from the state, that person is eligible for the $600 federal payment.
“As long as you’re collecting at least one dollar, then it automatically qualifies you for the federal benefits,” he said.
Again, it’s up to workers and their employers to work together to ensure employees are still eligible for state and federal aid as they return to work, Butler said.