Disclaimer: The estimates are good in faith and accuracy is not guaranteed. We are not liable for any loss and damages caused by using the tools on our website. This calculator is here to assist you in evaluating what you might obtain if you are entitled to receive benefits. We make no promises that the sum you receive will be equal to what the calculator illustrates.
The state of Georgia, in association with the Federal government, provides Unemployment Insurance (UI) to those who have lost their employment due to reasons not concerning their conduct or performance.
Know more about the requirements to claim for benefits, various ways to apply, contact details, and other important details that are necessary to file for Unemployment Insurance in Georgia.
Eligibility To Apply For UI Benefits In Georgia
The state of Georgia has set various criteria to be deemed eligible for unemployment benefits. The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) will oversee that the set criteria are met by the applicants. The requirements include – monetary eligibility, job separation, and maintenance of eligibility during the benefit period.
The state law in Georgia requires the applicants to meet the set monetary requirements to gain eligibility for monetary benefits. The monetary requirements consist of receiving ‘insured wages’, and the total wages received during the ‘base period’.
Insured wages are wages paid by the employer who pays Georgia Unemployment Insurance tax, and it is necessary for you to show that your wages are indeed insured wages to qualify for benefits.
In the state of Georgia, the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed at the time when you file the unemployment claim is considered as the regular base period. For those whose wages do not qualify for the regular base period, may consider the alternative base period. The alternative base period in Georgia is the last four calendar quarters completed at the time of filing the claim.
To meet the monetary requirements, applicants must possess the following qualifications:
You must have insured wages in at least two-quarters of the base period
Your wages must be equal to or more than $1,134 in the two-quarters of the base period in which you have the highest wages
The total wages in the base period must be equal to at least one and one-half times of the wages received in the quarter in which you earned the highest wages
Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA): The regular method of calculating the WBA in Georgia is done by dividing the total amount of money earned in the two highest paid quarters by 42.
If you fail to qualify for benefits as your total wages is not equal to one and one-half times the wages received in the highest earning quarter, an alternative calculation can be used. The alternative calculations are made by dividing the total amount of money paid in the highest earning quarter by 21.
The minimum weekly benefit amount provided in Georgia is $44, and the maximum benefit amount is capped at $330. The maximum benefit period is determined by the rate of unemployment in Georgia. The chart below shows the number of weeks you may receive the benefits depending on the unemployment rate in Georgia:
The reason for your separation from your previous organization/employer is one of the crucial criteria which can affect your claim for benefits. You must have not lost your job due to any fault of your own. To gain eligibility for benefits, you must meet the below eligibility requirements:
Lost the job due to no fault of theirs whatsoever
Have earned wages at least 10 times the weekly benefit amount of your claim
You were laid off due to lack of work, or your employer has reduced your working hours due to lack of work
You were not involved in any criminal activities in your previous organization leading to your job separation
You were not fired for reasons that come under the definition of misconduct
GDOL will contact your previous employer to obtain information on your job separation and will verify the reasons presented by you. The department may deem you ineligible if the reason given by you for job-separation is not the same as the reasons given by your previous employer.
Once you prove your monetary eligibility and justify your reasons for separating from the previous organization, you would be eligible for monetary benefits. This, however, doesn’t mean that you would receive benefits throughout the benefit period.
You must maintain eligibility throughout the benefit period to continue to receive benefits. To remain eligible, you must follow these points:
You must be able and available to work
You must provide proof that you are looking for work on a weekly basis
You are expected to seek and accept any suitable job offer made to you
As the length of your unemployment increases, you will be expected to make adjustments in your wage expectations, working conditions, job description, prior training and/or experience
When GDOL refers you for a job, you must apply for the same
Failing to carry out any of the above points would result in discontinuation of the payment of benefit amount.
If you were offered a job but refuse to accept the offer, you are expected to immediately report it to GDOL. The department will then determine if the reason to refuse the job is acceptable or not. You may only refuse to work under a few scenarios, such as:
The position opened up due to an ongoing strike
The job paid less than the prescribed minimum wage
The wage was substantially less than the prevailing wages paid for similar work in the neighborhood
You must also remember the following points to meet the work availability and work search requirements:
You must register to employment services unless you are exempt by law
If you are a citizen of Georgia, you must register with GDOL
You must make at least 3 job contacts in a given week
Be physically able to perform work (even if it’s not your regular field of work)
If you are filing an interstate claim, register with the local state workforce, but you must follow the rules and regulations of Georgia regarding your availability for work and work search requirements
You must meet other eligibility criteria, including the availability for work and work search requirements each week. GDOL may randomly conduct an audit, in which if it’s found that you do not meet any particular criteria, your benefits will be stopped.
You can file claims through GDOL website or through telephone by using the GDOL Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.
Once your claim is accepted by GDOL, the department will issue a benefit determination letter. The letter will show the following information:
Your insured wages during the base period
The probable weekly benefit amount you may earn
The maximum number of weeks you may receive the benefits
The probable maximum benefit amount you will be paid through your benefit period
The periodically adjusted unemployment rate of the state of Georgia
You are advised to go through the determination letter thoroughly and in case you do not agree with any of the mentioned information, you may apply for reconsideration.
Remember to apply for reconsideration within 15 days of receiving the determination letter in writing, in your career center.
You can file a claim through the GDOL website at any time of the day. The website is operational 24 hours of the day and on 7 days of the week. You will need to create a GDOL PIN when you are filing the unemployment claim in Georgia the first time. You will need the GDOL PIN while filing for claims throughout the benefit period.
You can file for claims by telephone by dialing Georgia unemployment phone number (1.866.598.4164). Follow all the instructions given by the IVR system. You will need the GDOL PIN to file for claims by telephone as well, and you may set the PIN over the phone too while claiming for benefits in the first week.
Note – If you face any trouble while applying for benefits, call the Georgia unemployment customer service number.
How To File Weekly Claims?
Weekly claims can be claimed by either using the website or by telephone. You will have to file claims each week and must meet the set requirements each week to be eligible for weekly claims.
If you fail to claim benefits for more than two weeks in a row, you will have to open the unemployment claim account through the website, telephone or in the career centers again.
Your responsibility does not end with the filing of the claim. There are many important aspects that you should know to make sure that they are on the right track, and also should be informed about any probable issues that might pop up.
Overpayment And Fraud
If it is found that you were paid benefits that were not supposed to be received by you, it would be considered as an overpayment. If the event you receive an overpayment, you must immediately bring it to the notice of GDOL. You will be expected to pay back the excess amount received, along with any income taxes that were withheld.
GDOL identifies two types of overpayments, they are:
An overpayment that is the amount you received without the intention of obtaining benefits that you were not entitled to, is identified as a non-fraud overpayment.
You are expected to pay back the overpayment, along with the other civil penalties, court costs, and filing fees as applicable. You can, however, request for a waiver from paying the excess amount if you did not intentionally receive the overpayment. GDOL will consider the following points to decide if the waiver must be given or not:
The intention with you received the excessive amount
Your financial condition after paying the overpayment, and the possible hardships you may face to make the payment
Your prospect of getting employment to repay the overpayment
The decision taken by GDOL will be final and appeal on the decision of waiver cannot be appealed.
Also, make sure that you apply for a waiver within 15 days of the release date of the overpayment notice.
If you have knowingly received excessive payments that were not intended to be paid to you, it will be considered as fraud overpayment. The GDOl will declare it a fraud overpayment, if:
You knowingly make false statements to fraudulently gain eligibility for benefits
You knowingly failed to disclose important information or facts that are essential
You misrepresent facts intentionally to obtain or increase the benefit amount
GDOL considers that fraud is committed when you knowingly distorts or conceals facts with the purpose of obtaining or increasing the benefit amount. If you are found to have committed fraud, you will be subject to the following penalties:
You must pay entire overpaid amount
A penalty of 15 % of the total amount must be paid
You should pay interest of 1% of the unpaid balance every month
You will not be allowed to collect unemployment benefits for the rest of the calendar quarter, and a year after the quarter
You may also be subject to civil or criminal penalties
Repayment Of Overpayments
You may voluntarily repay the dues with a lump sum payment or in the form of planned installments. If you fail to voluntarily pay the excessive amount, GDOL may take one of the following decisions:
Deducting 50% of the future benefit payments, and applying it for the overpayment
The state may also seek legal action, including criminal prosecution
Georgia offers benefits extension only when the state’s unemployment rate is too high. To know more about the benefits extension, visit GDOL.
Job Training Assistance
GDOL has many training programs in place to help people find suitable employment opportunities. In addition to providing unemployment benefits in Georgia, the Career Centers also organize workshops and events with the intention of helping the job-seekers to improve their skills.
Each Career Centers provides the following services:
Résumé writing and cover page writing assistance
Provides referrals and contacts of employers to job-seekers
Labor market information
Job search workshops
Career assessment and job-search assistance
Skill assessment of job-seekers, and referring them to the required training classes
GDOL also provides you an opportunity to retrain themselves to help build capacity in them to face new challenges. The retraining program allows you to go back to college again and reorient themselves. Some of the retaining programs are – Georgia’s HOPE Program, The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).
All these programs provide scholarships and grants if you want to go to school to learn and improve your skill sets. Contact the Career Centers to know more about the eligibility and requirements.
Visit Career Centers to find answers to all your questions related to unemployment insurance. Locate the closest,Career Center near to you.
Also, find below some of the important phone numbers of GDOL you may need during your benefit period.
Q. How do I get my Personal Identification Number (PIN)?
You can select a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when you first submit your initial unemployment application - online or by telephone. You will have to use the same PIN throughout your claim.
You will need it whenever you access the Online Claim System and to claim weekly benefits whether online or by telephone. If you forget it, you will be asked to reset the PIN. Make note that you are responsible for the security of your PIN, so do not share it with anyone whatsoever.
Q. How do I get my Claimant Identification Number (CID)?
Your Claimant Identification Number (CID) is a number assigned to you at the time you submitted the application for UI benefits in Oregon. You will need to use it on the documents sent to you by the concerned department as a way to safeguard your claim and Social Security number from identity theft.
Your CID will be asked when you intend to change your address or apply for direct deposit through the Online Claim System. The labor department will not give out your CID, even to you if you call, so please keep a record of it.
Q. What is a Waiting Week?
The Waiting Week is the first week on your claim in which you meet all eligibility requirements. You do not receive payment for your waiting week. Every unemployment account must have a Waiting Week before the unemployment department can start making benefit payments.
Q. Does retirement pay affect my benefits?
Retirement pay could reduce your benefits, make you ineligible, or have no effect at all. If you are not eligible for periodic payments, it has no effect. If an employer for whom you worked during the base year of your claim either contributed to the retirement fund or maintained it, then your retirement pay is deducted dollar for dollar.
Q. What is the procedure to start or stop tax withholding?
Applicants can choose to have state or federal taxes, both, or neither withheld from the amount they receive. They can change their withholding after filing for the claim. Tax regulations, however, require changes to tax withholding be made in writing.
Complete an Authorization for Tax Withholding, Form 1040WH, and mail your request to the Employment Department at PO Box 14135, Salem, OR 97309 or fax it to (503)-947-1335. Be sure to include your name and either Social Security number or customer ID number (CID).
Q. Can the Department reduce the benefits for child support payments?
The department can reduce the benefits for child support payments. In the event, you owe child support payments and there is a court order requiring deductions, a percentage is deducted from your benefits each week. The deductions continue until the court notifies us to stop.
Q. How is my weekly benefit amount calculated?
Your weekly benefit amount is 1.25% of the total base year gross earnings. The state of Oregon mandates that it will not be less than the minimum or more than the maximum amounts you can receive.
Q. How long do benefits last?
Your benefit year is a 52 week period that begins the first week you file. You may receive total benefits up to 26 times your weekly benefit amount. You can’t file a new Oregon claim until your benefit year is up, even if you’ve received all of your benefits.
Q. Will I be eligible for UI benefits if I started my own business?
Running your own business will stand as a direct contradiction to the condition that you must be available for work. You must report any self-employment activities to the UI Center, even if you don’t have earnings from it. Failure to report such details to the department will result in overpayment and penalties.