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Georgia Department of Labor breaks down unemployment assistance

The Georgia Department of Labor is encouraging residents to seek employment, and warns of...
The Georgia Department of Labor is encouraging residents to seek employment, and warns of increasing fraud.(WCTV)
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 7:43 PM EDT
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GEORGIA, (WCTV) - The Georgia Department of Labor is encouraging residents to seek employment and is warning of increasing fraud.

Sammy Tanner lost his home and his phone was disconnected after not receiving unemployment benefits approved back in 2020. Tanner says he had reached out to the department several times, but never got any answers as to why his benefits had been stopped.

WCTV looked into the issue with the Department of Labor due to a number of other concerns surrounding benefits since the pandemic began.

Commissioner Mark Butler said in just weeks, officials were asked to create programs and provide unemployment benefits for millions of people during the pandemic emergency. He believes they’ve done a great job adjusting to the state’s needs.

In just a short amount of time, Butler said restrictions were loosely written and it became difficult to create safe regulations to protect those new programs or claims.

“It’s very hard to come up with verification methods, especially on a very short timeline. Which leads to one of the reasons why we’re seeing such a huge increase in attempted fraud. Because of how quickly these programs were put together and how loosely the rules were written,” said Butler.

Programs, like the Payment Unemployment Assistance program, did not exist before COVID-19. PUA offers assistance to people that are self-employed. Butler says those applicants have to manually input their wages and other information.

What the department has noticed is that a lot of applicants are leaving information off of their applications, or not updating new information like when they find a job.

Butler said even if the work is temporary that information must be provided to the department to prevent being overpaid. Although he could not provide details on Tanner’s application specifically, Butler said the most common issue with unemployment applications is lack of identification or missing information.

For more information on Georgia unemployment benefits, click here.

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