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Employees in the health care and social assistance fields have filed 390,018 claims in Georgia, the second-most among all sectors in the state.

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ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced this week it has paid out more than $11 billion in state and federal unemployment benefits since the middle of March. These payments include regular state unemployment insurance, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and State Extended Benefits.

Payments last week totaled $778,136,584 in regular UI, FPUC, PUA, PEUC and SEB. Since March 21, $11,259,316,877 has been paid to eligible Georgians in unemployment benefits.

Last week, claims were down 37,329 from the week prior for a total of 84,984 for the week ending 7/25.

“As additional claims are being filed, we have been able to maintain an impressive ratio of eligible claims filed to payouts,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a news release. “Record-breaking payout rates represent a new standard for this department as we strive to better serve Georgians.”

The number of initial unemployment claims filed throughout the United States for the week ending 7/25 was 1,434,000, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 1,422,000.

Last week, the GDOL issued more than $75 million in PUA payments to individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of nonprofits, or those with limited work history who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits. From week ending 3/21/2020 through 7/25/2020, 320,839 PUA claims have been validated. Of the valid PUA claims eligible for payment where a request for payment has been made, 87 percent have been issued payment.

In addition, the total federal funds issued to Georgians for FPUC totaled more than $553 million last week. Over the past 18 weeks, the GDOL has issued more than $7.7 billion in FPUC funds. FPUC provides an additional $600 weekly payment to any individual eligible for any of the unemployment compensation programs – state and federal. The FPUC program is ending this week. The GDOL is waiting on a decision from the U.S. Congress on whether the program will be extended, amended, or permanently stopped. Information on the future of the FPUC program will be communicated as soon as possible on the agency’s website and social media platforms.

Last week, the GDOL issued more than $8 million in PEUC payments to individuals who qualified for a 13-week extension in UI benefits. The GDOL also implemented SEB after meeting a federal unemployment rate threshold, adding an additional 20 weeks of unemployment eligibility for potential claimants. The GDOL has issued a total $78,395 in SEB payments.

From the week ending 3/21/2020 through 7/25/2020, the sectors with the most regular UI initial claims processed included accommodation and food services, with 787,469 claims; health care and social assistance, 390,018 claims; retail trade, 359,438 claims; administrative and support services, 275,554 claims; and manufacturing, 254,685 claims.

As of 7/28/2020, the trust fund balance was $585,483,621, down $1.962 billion, or 77 percent, from the 3/24/2020 balance of $2,547,476,454.

Today, more than 122,000 jobs are listed online at EmployGeorgia.com for Georgians to access. The GDOL offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs.

At this time, GDOL career centers are remaining closed to the public. All online services are still available as the staff continues to answer calls, process claims, respond to customer inquiries, and provide assistance to applicants. The GDOL will re-open offices to the public as soon as social distancing can be effectively implemented to protect both staff and customers.

Information on filing an unemployment claim, details on how employers can file partial claims, and resources for other re-employment assistance can be found on the agency’s webpage at dol.georgia.gov.

This article originally ran on albanyherald.com.

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