ATLANTA – First-time unemployment claims in Georgia fell by 7,896 last week to 28,016, reflecting a weekly decline at the national level, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.
The agency paid out more than $238 million in state and federal benefits last week as it continued to implement the 11-week payment extensions provided in the latest COVID-19 relief package Congress passed late last month.
Additional U.S. Department of Labor requirements contained in the legislation must be integrated into the state systems before eligible payments can be released.
The state labor department is encouraging claimants to continue requesting weekly payments for those who have exhausted benefits or are waiting on determinations on eligibility.
Meanwhile, the agency is warning about the potential for fraud as it begins to send out more than 1.1 million 1099-G tax forms to Georgians who received unemployment benefits last year.
Anyone who receives a 1099-G form but did not file a claim in 2020 is urged to notify the labor department. The agency will investigate any reports of identity theft, make any necessary adjustments to the potential victim’s 1099-G and resubmit an amended form to the Internal Revenue Service.
“We are asking Georgians to be vigilant of their credit information and help us combat the fraudsters who are unlawfully taking funds from the [state Unemployment Insurance] program,” Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said Thursday. “This is a critical issue that is plaguing labor departments across the United States involving local, state, and even international criminals.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in Georgia last March, the labor department has paid out almost $17.6 billion in state and federal benefits to more than 4.3 million Georgians, more than the last nine years before the pandemic combined.
During the week ending June 23, the job sector accounting for the most initial unemployment claims in Georgia was accommodation and food services with 6,064. The health care and social assistance job sector was next with 3,145 claims, followed by manufacturing with 3,052.
More than 170,000 jobs are listed online at EmployGeorgia.com for Georgians to access. The labor department offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs.