The Georgia Department of Labor this week is distributing additional unemployment benefits to several hundred thousand people through the federal Lost Wages Assistance program.

The payments, representing up to $1,800 per person over a six-week period, come from a $44 billion pool of federal disaster-relief money that the Trump administration authorized last month. President Trump announced the plan after the previous $600-a-week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program expired Aug. 1.

The payments through GDOL are back-dated and the department issued the first round or three weeks’ worth on Monday, Sept. 14. The second of two scheduled payments to eligible Georgians was set to be issued later this week.

Eligibility for the LWA program is based upon an individual's weekly benefit determination – an amount calculated by a claimant's reported wages. Individuals must have received a weekly benefit amount determination of at least $100 to be eligible for LWA supplemental benefits. They must also be unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To check eligibility, claimants should go to dol.georgia.gov and visit their “My UI portal” where they will use a link to attest to the reason for their unemployment. Individuals whose employers have filed on their behalf or those who are receiving benefits through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) do not need to attest their reason for unemployment due to weekly certification that addresses this requirement. Only those with an individually filed claim will need to do so. If the claimant is qualified for LWA, he/she will be issued their payments in separate batches, the first batch for three weeks of $300 each ($900) and the second batch for the remaining three weeks of $300 each. These will be LWA benefits for weeks ending August 1 through September 5.

FEMA announced last week that all states will be limited to six weeks of benefits.

"We understood the president's executive order was contingent upon the availability of funds," said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler in a news release. "Although the six weeks of benefits wasn't what many had hoped for, the additional support will make a big difference to some struggling to avoid eviction."

Information on filing an unemployment claim, details on how employers can file partial claims, and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found at dol.georgia.gov.

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