Nearly $1 billion in federal unemployment benefits have been distributed to 623,720 Georgians, as part of money the state received from the federal Lost Wages Assistance program since last week, the Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday, Sept. 24.
About 96,000 people could still qualify for a federal payment, labor department spokeswoman Kersha Cartwright said.
“We have issued all of the LWA payments (deemed) eligible to release,” she said. “People who could still receive payments are those who have not answered a certification question (determining) if their unemployment was due to a disruption caused by COVID-19."
Cartwright added that many people have not completed the certification and their payments have not been released. She said the department is encouraging claimants to make sure they’ve answered their certification question in the “MY UI” portal on the labor department website.
Georgians whose unemployment was caused directly by the pandemic and who earn at least $100 weekly in state benefits qualify for a federal supplement of up to $1,800, which equates to six weekly payments of $300. Many Georgians received their payments in two waves of $900 each in recent weeks.
The distributions are an extension of a $600-per-week federal supplement provided as part of the CARES Act approved by Congress in March. That funding ended in late July.
Congress debated an extension of the program but couldn’t agree on new funding. President Donald Trump set the Lost Wages Assistance program in motion through an Aug. 8 executive order, with funding coming from the Federal Emergency Management Administration's Disaster Relief Fund.