The Newnan Times-Herald


Extra 13 weeks of unemployment is automatic

  • By Sarah Fay Campbell
  • |
  • Jul. 02, 2020 - 8:00 PM

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Georgians receiving unemployment insurance are eligible for 26 weeks of benefits under the current programs – even though their paperwork may say otherwise.

Georgia’s regular unemployment compensation lasts for 13 weeks.

The federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program adds another 13 weeks, and those payments will begin automatically once regular payments are exhausted, according to Kersha Cartwright, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Labor.

Some Georgians have already begun receiving the second 13 weeks of benefits, Cartwright said.

When Georgians receiving benefits check their accounts, it may say they only get 13 weeks, but those numbers will update, Cartwright said — unless someone’s benefit year has ended. If someone’s benefit year has ended, they will have to file a new claim, she said.

If Georgians exhaust the entire 26 weeks of employment, there are also extended state benefits that can last an additional 13 weeks, depending on the state’s unemployment rate.

Anyone receiving unemployment in Georgia, and those around the country, are eligible for an additional $600 per week under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. However, that additional payment is set to end the week of July 25.

Georgians on unemployment can still receive benefits even if they are working. Under special rules during the COVID-19 crisis, Georgians can earn up to $300 a week without impacting their benefits. Typically, that limit is $50 a week. That higher limit is set to last through the state’s public health emergency.

Under legislation passed during the 2020 session, Labor Commissioner Mark Butler will have the authority to adjust the limit based on conditions, Cartwright said. “I think we’re going to keep that at $300 for a while and see how that works.”