Unemployment In Georgia – The Complete Guide

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This is the ultimate guide to unemployment in Georgia.

In this comprehensive guide I’ll cover:

  • The benefits that you receive.
  • How to file a claim.
  • How much money you’ll get and when you’ll get paid.
  • The requirements you need to meet to get unemployment.
  • How to apply online.
  • Georgia’s unemployment office locations and contact info.
  • Lots more

So if you need assistance and are seeing unemployment, you’ll love this guide.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Unemployment In Georgia

Unemployment in Georgia is a program that allows employees who have lost their jobs to qualify for unemployment benefits.

These benefits are available to people who lost their jobs at no fault of their own. This means that, if you are to get unemployment, then you cannot have been fired. However, being laid off does allow you to get unemployment in Georgia.

Reasons for Unemployment

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Georgia, you cannot have been fired from your previous job.

Unemployment When Laid Off

In Georgia, you are eligible for unemployment benefits if your earnings meet certain minimum thresholds in terms of hours or wages; and if you were laid off, quit for good cause, or were fired for anything other than misconduct.

You can meet the unemployment requirements if you were laid off from your job, lost your job in a reduction-in-force (RIF), or got “downsized” for economic reasons. Layoffs mean that your job or role is terminated, but not at your own fault.

According to Vanderbilt’s Human Resources, a reduction in force (RIF) is defined as a separation from employment due to lack of funds, lack of work, redesign or elimination of position(s) or reorganization, with no likelihood or expectation that the employee will be recalled because the position itself is eliminated.

Related: How to Navigate the Home Foreclosure Process in Atlanta Georgia

Unemployed If Fired

When you are terminated for cause or misconduct, you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits. In Georgia, being fired for misconduct bars you from receiving unemployment benefits permanently.

If you were fired, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get unemployment benefits. It depends on the reason that you were fired.

If you were fired because you lacked the necessary skills to perform the job effectively or you were not a good fit for the company, that’s not a guarantee that you won’t receive unemployment benefits.

But if you get fired for misconduct, then you will not be eligible for unemployment in Georgia. Misconduct means that you broke the employer’s rules, you didn’t conform to standards (dress codes, sexual misconduct, etc.), or careless behavior that shows disregard for the company (lying, stealing, showing up to work drunk, etc.).

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Unemployment If You Quit

If you quit a job without good cause, you will not qualify for unemployment benefits. To collect unemployment benefits, employees must be out of work through no fault of their own. In Georgia, an employee who voluntarily quits a job without good cause is not eligible for unemployment.

Quitting your job makes you ineligible for unemployment benefits in Georgia. The only reason you would still be able to receive unemployment benefits is if you had a good work-related reason like your employer didn’t pay your wages or your work conditions changed. These cannot be personal reasons.

Reasons for Unemployment Denial

So you applied for unemployment in Georgia. But what happens if you get denied?

You will receive a letter from the Georgia Department of Labor if your claim has been denied. This letter lays out the reasons why your claim for unemployment was denied. The reasons you can expect to see are:

Failing to Meet the Earnings Requirements

Employers are forking out money to pay the unemployment for ex-employees. For that reason, you must have worked at that company for a ‘base period.’

Your claim is based on insured wages earned in the base period, which is the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed at the time you file your claim. This means you have to have worked at a company for 12 months to be eligible.

Your base earnings requirements for unemployment in Georgia are that you must have earned at least $1,135 in at least 2 of the 4 quarters from your base period.

Quitting Your Last Job

To collect unemployment, you cannot be out of work for any fault of your own. Quitting your job falls into this category. Georgia does not recognize compelling reasons to quit as a valid qualification to receive unemployment.

Compelling reasons to quit your job include; going back to school, an illness, your schedule changing, poor working conditions, etc. However, there are some valid compelling reasons to quit your job that do allow you to get unemployment.

These valid compelling reasons are; reducing salary, reducing working hours, demotions, employer harassment, material changes in job descriptions, and substantial changes in the geographic location of the job.

Related: Georgia Divorce Who Gets The House?

Fired For Misconduct

Georgia’s unemployment laws do not allow you to receive unemployment benefits if you were fired for misconduct. According to Georgia laws, workplace misconduct includes discrimination, theft, sexual harassment, insubordination, and breaking confidentiality.

It’s not always worthwhile to appeal a denial of unemployment benefits. For example, if you clearly don’t meet the earnings requirements, there’s no point in wasting your time on an appeal. If, however, it’s a close case as to whether you were fired for misconduct, filing an appeal might be a good idea.

Georgia Unemployment Appeal

Georgia Unemployment Appeal - Reasons for Unemployment Denial

For Georgia unemployment appeals, you must file your appeal within 15 days of the mailing date on the determination letter. The unemployment rejection letter will have the date noted in the letter as shown above.

You can email, mail, fax, or hand-deliver your written appeal to the Appeals Tribunal of the GDOL. The determination letter will give you further instructions on how to file your appeal, including the proper mailing address and fax number.

Unemployment Appeals - How to Appeal Unemployment - Unemployment Appeals Office - Unemployment Appeals GA

When getting ready to make an unemployment appeal, make sure to briefly explain why you believe you should receive benefits. But don’t make it personal reasons like “I need to be able to afford to keep my family fed.”

For example, let’s say that you were denied because you were supposedly fired from your last job for misconduct. If you believe that you were not involved in misconduct, you can make your case to the appeals court.

Make sure that you attach documentation (emails, warnings, etc.) that support your case. To strengthen your position, consider bringing witnesses to your unemployment appeals hearing.

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During the appeals process, you want to show the courts that you are proactively trying to find a job. Keep records of the applications you’ve submitted, phone interviews, and in-person interviews that you have been to.

Unemployment In Georgia – F.A.Q.s

How long can you collect unemployment benefits in Georgia?

How long you can collect unemployment insurance benefits is dependent on Georgia’s unemployment rate on the date you file your claim. Currently, applicants can expect to draw benefits between 14 and 20 weeks. Once you file your claim, it is valid for 12 months, and this becomes known as your benefit year.

Unemployment Georgia Benefits You Can Receive

When applying for unemployment in Georgia, your work history and earnings in your “base year” are what are taking into consideration.

Your claim is based on insured wages earned in the base period, which is the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed at the time you file your claim. This means you have to have worked at a company for 12 months to be eligible.

For example, if you filed your claim in October of 2019, the base period would be from June 1, 2018, through May 31, 2019.

During the base period, you must meet all of the following requirements in order to be eligible for unemployment:

  • You must have earned wages in at least two quarters during the base period.
  • You must have earned at least $1,134 in wages during the two-quarters of your base period in which you earned the highest wages.
  • Your total wages during the base period must be at least 1.5 times the wages you earned in the highest quarter of your base period.

How Much Does Unemployment Pay In Georgia?

Your weekly Georgia unemployment benefit amount is calculated by combining your wages from the two highest quarters in your base period and dividing that number by 42. Your weekly benefit amount is subject to a weekly minimum of $44 and a maximum of $330.

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A good Georgia Unemployment Calculator will provide you with the amount you earn and for how many weeks you can expect to earn unemployment. To calculate your potential unemployment, you’ll need:

  • The amount of money you earned in each of the last 5 quarters (3-month periods).
  • How many dependents you have.

Unemployment GA Claim

You can file your Georgia unemployment claim either in person or online. This section will walk you through the steps you need to take if you want to file a claim.

Georgia Unemployment Online Filing

To file your unemployment claim, head over to the Georgia Department of Labor’s website and navigate to the File an Unemployment Claim page.

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You’ll need to gather a few items to file your unemployment claim.

  • Your Social Security Number (or Alien Number and expiration date).
  • Government-issued identification.
  • Your work history from the past 18 months.
  • Your bank information (account number and routing number).
  • Employer issued separation notice or letter.
  • S-8 Form
  • Most recent Tax Return.

Related: Georgia Property Tax Liens

Your work history should include the following information.

  • Employers’ Name, Address, and Phone Number.
  • The date that you started.
  • The date that you ended work.
  • Your rate of pay throughout the employment.
  • Your total earnings for the 5 base periods.
  • The official reason for your job separation.

Once the Georgia Department of Labor receives your unemployment application, they will send you some documents. These documents include the Benefit Determination. Georgia’s unemployment Benefit Determination lays out whether or not you meet the eligibility requirements.

To be able to file for Georgia unemployment online, you must be at least 18 years old, have a personal email address and have earned wages from a Georgia employer within the past 24 months.

If you have collected the documents and information you need to file, the online application takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete.  If you start the unemployment application process online, but you don’t have enough time to finish it, you can save your application in progress and you will have 120 hours to complete it.

After you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email with a confirmation number. Then, you just wait on the approval or denial of your application.

Filing for Georgia Unemployment In A GA Unemployment Office

So, you want to file in person at a local Georgia Department of Labor Career Center. Just click on the link to see where your local unemployment office in Georgia.

Or, click this link to see a Google Maps search for GA Unemployment Office near you.

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Whether you apply for Georgia unemployment online or in person, you will need the same information.

  • Your Social Security Number (or Alien Number and expiration date).
  • Government-issued identification.
  • Your work history from the past 18 months.
  • Your bank information (account number and routing number).
  • Employer issued separation notice or letter.
  • S-8 Form
  • Most recent Tax Return.

Your work history should include the following information.

  • Employers’ Name, Address, and Phone Number.
  • The date that you started.
  • The date that you ended work.
  • Your rate of pay throughout the employment.
  • Your total earnings for the 5 base periods.
  • The official reason for your job separation.

Once you submit your unemployment claim, the Georgia Department of Labor will review it to make sure that it is completed correctly. If everything is properly filled out, then the next step for you is to enroll in the Georgia Department of Labor’s Employment Services.

One of the requirements to receive unemployment benefits is to actively be looking for employment. They will also require you to undergo weekly recertification to keep your unemployment benefits.

This recertification includes providing proof of your job search activities. It also verifies that you are completing all of the other requirements.

To file weekly claims, you will need to have your Personal Identification Number (issued when you file an initial claim) and your Social Security number.

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Requirements For Unemployment In Georgia

To continue to be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must be totally or partially unemployed (working part-time) and meet all of the requirements listed below:

  • Meet all work search requirements (unless exempted from work search).
  • Request payment for weeks of unemployment.
  • Be physically and mentally able to work.
  • Be available for full-time work
  • Participate in re-employment activities.
  • Respond to requests from the Georgia Department of Labor Unemployment Office.

When you are collecting unemployment, you must be available for work and actively seeking employment.

You must be ready, willing, available and able to work, and you may be required to report on your job search activities.

Unemployment Work Search

You might be wondering, “Does the Unemployment Office check work searches?”

To continue receiving unemployment benefits, you will have to prove to the Georiga Unemployment Office that you are actively searching for work. You will most likely be required to keep an unemployment work log. This means you’ll need to keep notes of the jobs you applied for, the phone interviews that you had, and the face-to-face interviews that you had.

There must be a combined total of three employer contacts or approved job search activities each week. The log must include

  • The employer name, address, and phone number.
  • The date and method of contact (in-person, phone, online, email, fax)
  • The position applied for.
  • Whether an application was accepted.
  • And the result of the contact.

You must be available to take on and suitable work. At a minimum, this means that:

  • You are ready to accept work immediately if a job is offered to you.
  • You must accept all shifts and workdays normal to your occupation.
  • You must accept the wage that is the local average for your occupation and experience.
  • You must be willing to commute to work.

If you have been receiving unemployment for an extended period of time, your situation may be different. You normally are allowed to wait for work similar to your previous occupation. If you have been on unemployment for a long time, you will have to accept any job that you are capable of performing.

Georgia Unemployment Benefits – F.A.Q.s

What day does unemployment pay in GA?

An unemployment benefit week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday at midnight. If you are a claimant trainee, an unemployment benefit week begins on Saturday and ends on Friday at midnight. You MUST wait until the week has ended to claim benefits for that week’s paid unemployment benefits.

What Can Disqualify You From Unemployment Benefits?

If you’re wondering whether or not you are eligible for Georgia’s unemployment benefits, here’s a comprehensive list of what can disqualify you from unemployment benefits in Georgia.

Work-Related Misconduct

Georgia’s unemployment laws do not allow you to receive unemployment benefits if you were fired for misconduct. According to Georgia laws, workplace misconduct includes discrimination, theft, sexual harassment, insubordination, and breaking confidentiality.

Depending on the severity of your misconduct, you will lose your unemployment benefits either temporarily or permanently. Theft, embezzlement, violence and other criminal behavior will certainly disqualify you from unemployment benefits permanently.

Depending on the circumstances, insubordination, chronic absenteeism, carelessness, and rules violations may also be misconduct. These minor acts of misconduct could potentially disqualify you temporarily.

Misconduct Outside of Work

Georgia is an “Employment At Will” state, which means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason. This means that if you are involved in misconduct outside of work, then any employer in Georgia can terminate you, which disqualifies you for unemployment. Unacceptable misconduct outside of work is determined by the employer.

The misconduct outside of work that will disqualify you could be criminal violations, violation of the company’s standards of behavior, or something that is deemed to be against the employer’s interests.

Turning Down A Suitable Job

One of the requirements for getting (and keeping) unemployment is that you have to accept a job that’s offered to you that’s similar to the one you lost.

But, remember that it’s a job that’s similar to your previous one. If you were a plant manager, managing 500 employees and you’re offered a roofing job, then that’s not a similar job.

But if you were that plant manager and you turn down a job where you’re a team lead, project management, or managing a group of 5 people, then those are getting into grey areas. If you turn down these types of similar jobs, then you risk disqualifying for your employment benefits.

Talk to your Georgia Unemployment representative and make sure they do not deem this job suitable for you before you turn it down. When determining suitability, Georgia’s Department of Labor will look at the income, your training, your experience, and the safety of the job.

Failing a Drug Test

To qualify or keep your unemployment benefits in Georgia, failing a drug test will be considered misconduct that disqualifies you. If you are getting unemployment benefits and you lose a new job offered to you because you fail a drug test, you may be disqualified, just as if you’d turned down a suitable job.

Not Looking For Work

Georgia will require you to keep logs of proving to them that you have applied to jobs. You have to apply to 3 jobs per week and keep a log of your applications. If you don’t report this information in a timely fashion, or if you stop actively looking for work, you may lose your benefits.

Being Unable to Work

There are several reasons why you might not be able to work. These include being temporarily disabled, on maternity leave, family emergencies, etc. In Georgia, you may lose your eligibility for unemployment while you are unable to work. Even if the reason that you cannot work is not your fault, like disability or family emergencies.

Receiving Severance Pay

If you are receiving a severance package from your previous employer, no matter for how much, you can be disqualified from receiving unemployment from Georgia. For example, if you have an 8-week severance package, then you cannot receive unemployment until the 9th week after you lose your job.

Getting Freelance Assignment

In most states, if you’re working and getting income, even as an independent contractor, you may be completely or partially disqualified from unemployment benefits. Learn how taking a temporary job impacts unemployment benefits.

Committing Fraud

You may be wondering how the unemployment office would know whether or not you are working a side business or not. That, I’m not 100% sure on. But what I do know is that if you don’t report that, you will lose your benefits.

Not only will you lose your benefits though, but you are also committing fraud. The repercussions for this are that you have to repay all of your benefits or even go to jail. It’s easy for government investigators to easily find out whether or not you are doing side work, so don’t even risk not reporting your side income.

Can You Get Unemployment If You Get Fired?

To get unemployment in Georgia, you cannot be out of work from any fault of your own. Employees who are laid off due to economic reasons are eligible for unemployment. Economic reasons are plant closings, reduction in force (RIF), lack of work, etc.

But employees who have been fired are most likely not eligible for unemployment. Georgia law is the determining factor of whether or not the reason for being fired disqualifies a worker from unemployment.

Generally, those who are fired for major misconduct (theft, drugs, alcohol, discrimination, sexual harassment, insubordination, and breaking confidentiality) are unable to receive unemployment benefits.

Being fired doesn’t mean that you are permanently disqualified for unemployment. In most cases, you will have to go through a period of time called the “disqualification period.”

In a lot of cases, the Georgia unemployment offices will allow you to receive unemployment. Being fired for reasons such as being a poor fit for the job, lacking the necessary skills for the position, or failing to perform up to expected standards will likely be able to collect unemployment may not disqualify you for unemployment benefits.

Here are some of the types of major misconduct that might render an employee ineligible to collect unemployment benefits:

  • Failing a drug or alcohol test. In Georgia, an employee who is fired for failing a drug or alcohol test will not be able to collect unemployment benefits. Refusing to submit to testing is also a disqualifying event.
  • Theft. An employee who is fired for stealing from the company or from coworkers will most likely be ineligible to receive unemployment benefits.
  • Committing a crime. An employee who commits a crime connected with the job – such as assaulting a coworker, driving under the influence while on company business, or destroying valuable company property — will almost certainly be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.
  • Violating safety rules. An employee who makes a careless mistake may still be eligible to receive unemployment benefits, but an employee who willfully or intentionally disregards important safety rules will probably be disqualified from collecting benefits.

Being disqualified from employment is not permanent in the sense that if you are 50 years old and were fired from a job in your 30s, you don’t have to worry about that disqualifying you from unemployment.

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While it might not help you immediately, once you are fired, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits. But after you get another job and work there long enough to meet Georgia’s earning requirements, then you are eligible for unemployment benefits again.

Unemployment GA Offices

Unemployment Office Atlanta

The unemployment office for Atlanta is located at 223 Courtland St NE, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30303.

Atlanta Unemployment Office phone number: (404) 232-4700

The Atlanta Unemployment Office serves Douglas County and Fulton County. The manager is Diane Allen.

Unemployment Office College Park

The unemployment office for College Park is located at 1630 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 200, College Park, GA 30349.

College Park Unemployment Office phone number: (678) 284-0200

The College Park Unemployment Office serves Clayton County, Fayette County, and Henry County. The manager is Mark Connally.

Unemployment Office Marietta

The unemployment office for Marietta is located at 465 Big Shanty Road, Marietta, GA 30066.

Marietta Unemployment Office phone number: (770) 528-6100

The Marietta Unemployment Office serves Cherokee County and Cobb County. The manager is Bruce Medders.

Unemployment Office Decatur GA

The unemployment office for Decatur GA is located at 774 Jordan Lane Bldg. #4 Decatur, GA 30033.

Decatur GA Unemployment Office phone number: (404) 679-5200

The Decatur GA Unemployment Office serves Dekalb County, Fulton County, and Rockdale County. The manager is Mark Connally.

Unemployment Office Gwinnett County GA

The unemployment office for Gwinnett County, GA is located at 2211 Beaver Ruin Road, Suite 160 Norcross, GA 30071.

Decatur GA Unemployment Office phone number: (770) 840-2200

The Gwinnett County GA Unemployment Office serves Norcross, Lawrenceville, Duluth, and Suwanee. The manager is Mark Winters.

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