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Lost your job? Heres whats next
Dont wait to file for unemployment insurance
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You've been called into the boss' office and told that your job is being eliminated.

Unfortunately, it has happened more and more in 2008 - the state's unemployment rate hit 7.5 percent in November — and there are predictions that the unemployment rate will continue to rise in 2009.
What do you do?

Officials with the Georgia Department of Labor suggest that you come to their office to determine if you are eligible for unemployment insurance. The program provides weekly payments to persons who qualify.

In Georgia, the weekly payments range from the minimum of $44 per week to a maximum of $330 for claims filed on or after July 1, 2008. The amount an individual will receive is based on the amount of wages earned in the base period.

Some unemployed workers have indicated that they feel there is a stigma attached to accepting unemployment benefits.

The human resource director for Northeast Georgia Medical Center said employers generally have no idea whether or not you accepted unemployment benefits.

"We would not know if they had filed for unemployment," said Randy Johnson. "Our recruiters and managers do not ask that question in the interview process."

Johnson also said it is important to be honest about your job situation.

"You should be up front with the employer if you have lost your job through no fault of your own," Johnson said. "We and other employers know that we are involved in a national and international recession, so applicants should be clear if they have lost their job."

In Gainesville, the Georgia Department of Labor operates a career center at 2756 Atlanta Highway. It serves residents of Dawson, Forsyth, Hall, Lumpkin and White counties.

The center is the place where you will file your initial claim. There are other services provided include a computer center where you can access the Internet to look for jobs.

To save time, make sure you take the following items when you file for unemployment:

  • Your Social Security number; a claim cannot be filed without it.
  • A separation notice or letter from your former employer, if you received one. In some cases, this will help speed up the process of determining your eligibility for benefits.
  • The names and addresses of your employers for the last 18 months, and the dates you worked at each place.
  • Proof of your immigration status if you are not a U.S. citizen.
  • A check with your account number and your bank's routing number if you want to have benefit checks deposited directly to your checking or savings account. Form DD214 Member 4, if you separated from the military in the last 18 months. If you worked for the federal government in the last 18 months, you'll need Standard Form 50 and Standard Form 8. If you do not have Standard Form 50, you will need to bring a W-2 form or pay stubs and your wages will be estimated.

In November, President George W. Bush signed into law an extension of unemployment benefits, which may provide some persons who have exhausted their benefits with additional payments.

Benefit recipients who have already exhausted their claims and meet eligibility requirements under the new legislation should receive written notification, an application and instructions on how to apply.

If you have lost a job and may be moving out of state, it is important that you file for unemployment benefits in Georgia if you worked here.