ATLANTA, Ga. (WTOC) - Governor Brian Kemp and the state’s labor commissioner announced an expansion to the state’s unemployment insurance program Thursday.
A new emergency rule extends the time Georgians can receive unemployment from 14 weeks to 26 weeks, which is the longest allowed under federal law. Another new rule allows Georgians who are laid off and earning $300 or less weekly in a new, part-time job to continue receiving full unemployment benefits.
“We understand Georgia businesses and workers are anxious during the COVID-19 public health crisis about how to take care of themselves, their families, and their businesses,” said Mark Butler, the Georgia Department of Labor commissioner. “We are making unprecedented modifications to policies to help all Georgians survive this economic hardship and get us all back to work.”
The changes come amid an unprecedented surge in unemployment claims. Butler said 12,140 claims were filed from March 15th to the 21st, up from 5,445 the previous week. The state expects even more claims in the coming weeks, surpassing the number of claims filed during the recession in 2008 and 2009.
A non-partisan budget and policy group in Atlanta lobbied the agency to make sweeping changes to the unemployment insurance program earlier this week.