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Understanding How Unemployment Insurance Usually Works in Georgia

Few things wreak havoc in a person's life more than losing a job. Furthermore, a large percentage of Americans are only being paid minimum wage -- which forces them to live from “paycheck to paycheck.” This means they have no sizable savings and are unable to remain afloat financially for more than a week or two after they’re dropped from your payroll.

Sadly, savings accounts have become a luxury, usually only available to those who live frugally and are paid a fair, “living” wage – which is far above minimum wage.

Before approving any layoffs, do your best to make sure your company’s top executives have a realistic understanding of how devastating layoffs and firings really are so they can be minimized.

Here’s some additional, basic information about how unemployment filings are handled in the state of Georgia. While some of this may hold true in other states – a large portion of it may be unique to this state.

Who Is Usually Eligible for Georgia's Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI)?

UI is intended to provide temporary income for workers who are:

  1. unemployed through no fault of their own and

  2. who are either looking for another job [or] have a definite recall to their jobs within six weeks of the last day worked, or

  3. are in approved training.

Make sure before making any layoffs that the employees understand that they “do not pay any [unemployment insurance] costs.” This benefit money is derived from taxes paid by all of the state’s employers.                                                                             

How Does the Government Determine the Benefit Amount Each Worker Receives?

What each unemployed worker who is qualified to receive unemployment insurance UI) benefits is based on worker’s “past wages, reason for job separation, and availability and job search requirements.”

Make sure your company regularly updates all information you provide to your employees concerning unemployment.  In fact, you should ask your company's lawyers to periodically review such materials (including everything you post on your office walls) to be sure it's all fully up to date.

The following, additional information also governs UI filings in Georgia.

Useful Facts Regarding Unemployment Insurance Filings

  • Everyone who is age 18 or older and filing must appear in person before a Georgia Department of Labor (DOL) employee in order to file for benefits. This is so the person can file the required affidavit;

  • Filing online. In addition to what was just stated above, if you have a valid e-mail address and have “worked or earned wages in the state of Georgia in the past two years, you can file a Georgia [UI] claim” online;

If you reside in Georgia but having worked in this state during the past two years-- but have worked in another state, you need to visit a nearby Georgia DOL career center where you can obtain the information you need to file in the other, correct state;

Those who do not currently reside in Georgia and haven’t worked here during the past two years -- need to locate their state’s workforce agency about possibly filing a claim.

To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia