Update, Aug. 27: A new $300-per-week federal supplement for Georgians who lost wages because of the COVID-19 pandemic could be rolled out in three to four weeks, the Georgia Department of Labor said on Thursday, Aug. 27.
“Individuals do not need to call or apply separately for this benefit,” the agency said in a press release. “This additional payment will be automatically issued to eligible claimants currently receiving state or federal unemployment benefits for the weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8 and Aug. 15.”
Hall’s unemployment rate dipped in July to 5.6%, but for those who remain jobless, the status of future assistance remains in limbo after Congress failed to agree on additional stimulus after the first relief package expired. President Trump has tried to fill the gap via executive order.
The process to release the benefits is taking time “because certification requirements for the program are different” than those under the CARES Act’s $600-per-week supplement that expired in July. The agency said it “will need to develop a new computer system to administer the payments.”
“We are working as quickly as possible to build an application to meet (new federal) guidelines to process these weekly supplements,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said. “I am thankful we have (teams that are) able to interpret extensive federal guidelines and develop a system that will support the specifications these systems demand.”
Unemployed Georgians who saw their $600 federal weekly supplement end in July may soon get a $300 weekly boost for up to three weeks.
The Federal Emergency Management Association approved Georgia’s grant application for the additional funding on Sunday, Aug. 23, according to a Georgia Department of Labor press release on Monday, Aug. 24.
The boost stems from an executive order signed Aug. 8 by President Trump, who approved up to $44 billion from FEMA’S Disaster Relief Fund to extend the jobless benefit to workers who lost wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
States would have to contribute an additional $100 per week, but that could be as part of the existing weekly benefit provided by the state, Department of Labor spokeswoman Kersha Cartwright said Monday.
“If you are receiving $365 each week in regular (jobless) payments, now you will receive that payment plus the new $300. You will receive $665 for the week,” she gave as an example.
The plan was to provide the additional funding for three weeks, after which “additional benefits are contingent upon availability of remaining FEMA funds,” according to the labor department.
And states will be required to request additional disbursements weekly after the three-week period of benefits are distributed, officials said.
Depending on funding, the program could run until Dec. 27.
“The Georgia Department of Labor will deliver a system meeting the new FEMA guidelines to process these weekly supplements as quickly as possible,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “We will continue to work with the US Department of Labor, FEMA, and Gov. (Brian) Kemp’s office to provide financial support for Georgians during this pandemic.”