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Unemployed Georgians could be receiving $1,800 by the end of next week
11302017 ECONOMY

Update, Sept. 11: Georgians still jobless because of the COVID-19 pandemic could get up to $1,800 in federal benefits by the end of next week, on top of their normal state unemployment benefit, the Georgia Department of Labor has announced.

That equates to $300 per week for six weeks’ worth of benefits, the limit under the Lost Wages Assistance program, which President Donald Trump set in motion through an Aug. 8 executive order.

Georgians whose unemployment was caused directly by the pandemic and who earn at least $100 weekly in state benefits qualify for the federal supplement. They will receive the federal benefits in two waves — $900 early next week and $900 later in the week, the labor department said.

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

Previous article: Georgia is trying to figure out how to proceed following President Donald Trump’s executive order calling for $400 weekly federal unemployment benefits, with the state responsible for a quarter of it. 

Previously, those payments were providing $600 weekly to individuals who had lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it was fully funded by Washington. The federal amount is a supplement to the amount the unemployed qualify for from states 

Nearly $8.3 billion in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation money has been paid out over the past 19 weeks, state officials said Thursday, Aug. 6. 

Many states have been facing budget shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic and would have difficulty assuming the new obligation. 

Georgia has had its own financial struggles during the pandemic, making widespread budget cuts and having to dip into emergency funds to make ends meet. 

The Georgia Department of Labor “is currently analyzing President Trump's executive order on the weekly unemployment supplement,” the agency said on Twitter Monday, Aug. 10. “We will be working with the governor's office on implementation in the weeks ahead.” 

“At this time, the GDOL is still awaiting clarification on the funding mechanism for this new benefit,” Commissioner Mark Butler said.  “We will make an announcement on our website and social platforms once more information becomes available.” 

Candice L. Broce, Gov. Brian Kemp’s spokeswoman, said the governor had nothing more to add to the labor department’s comments. 

“We’ll concur with (the GDOL) statement,” she said. 

In one of four executive orders issued Saturday, Aug. 8, Trump replaced an expired unemployment benefit with a lower amount after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed. 

“It's $400 a week, and we're doing it without the Democrats,” Trump said. 

Trump is seeking to set aside $44 billion in previously approved disaster aid to help states maintain supplemental pandemic jobless benefits, but Trump said it would be up to states to determine how much, if any of it, to fund, so the benefits could be smaller still. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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