The Georgia unemployment benefits extensions, granted by the GA Department of Labor (GDOL), are available to state workers who have depleted the full amount of regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. Note that, however, federal unemployment extensions are only available if the state is experiencing adverse economic conditions and the rate of unemployment rises very high.
The purpose of GA unemployment extension programs is to provide financial support to jobless workers who are having difficulties finding employment in such difficult times. Even though these extension programs are generally funded by the federal government, their management is within the jurisdiction of the GDOL.
Therefore, once former employees become eligible for UI continuations, they will be notified by the state Department of Labor and instructed on how to submit their applications. In any case, before seeking an answer to the question, “What can I do to extend unemployment coverage?” you must first review the program’s eligibility criteria.
Note that UI beneficiaries who are automatically enrolled in unemployment compensation extensions in GA will receive benefits until they exhaust the set amount or the economic crisis is resolved.
Georgia Unemployment Resources
How to Get an Unemployment Extension in Georgia
The GDOL will accept unemployment compensation extension applications if and when the department activates the state Extended Benefits (EB) program. At present, the EB program remains discontinued. However, state employees can still learn how to apply for federal unemployment benefits in the future by reading the information below.
In general, the EB program’s eligibility requirements are similar to those of the standard UI program, and beneficiaries who would like to obtain Georgia unemployment extension coverage will be required to:
- Exhaust the full amount of their standard UI payments.
- Submit a separate application for the EB program.
- Undergo the weekly recertification procedure.
After submitting a petition for an unemployment compensation extension in Georgia, the department will review the UI recipient’s future job prospects and classify him or her as either acceptable or not acceptable. The time period which is considered for this determination consists of the first four weeks after the unemployment benefits extension request is filed.
If you are guaranteed to find employment within 30 days of filing for an extension, you will be required to meet the same weekly requirements as for regular UI payments. On the other hand, if your prospects of finding a job within a month are not good, you will be required to meet stricter weekly criteria.
In such circumstances, for instance, UI claimants will be required to apply for and accept any employment that:
- Provides wages that are greater than both their weekly UI benefits and the state minimum wage.
- Fits their work capabilities, regardless of whether or not it is similar to their previous occupation.
State workers can qualify as applicants with “good prospects” for finding employment if they are offered a job that starts within four weeks, and if they provide proof of this opportunity to a local GDOL Career Center. Additionally, for EB eligibility, applicants must apply to at least two different job openings per week. However, if you are unable to seek employment during a certain week, you can choose not to undergo that week’s certification procedure.
The total amount of federal unemployment extensions provided via the previous iteration of the EB program was either 20 times the UI claimant’s weekly benefit amount or 80 percent of his or her total amount of benefits.
Note: Future versions of the state Extended Benefits program may implement different requirements.
Past Georgia Unemployment Extension Programs
The standard Georgia unemployment extension program EB was also supplemented by the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program in the past. Completely funded by the U.S. government, this federal unemployment extension program was active from 2008 until the beginning of 2014, and its goal was to combat the countrywide economic crisis.
Compensation extensions were provided in four different stages, called tiers, and UI beneficiaries were required to exhaust all available benefits at one tier in order to move on to the next. Note that, however, state workers were only able to obtain higher-tiered unemployment benefits extensions in GA if the state total unemployment rate (TUR) had risen above a certain level.
For instance, the first tier of benefits was available to all UI beneficiaries regardless of the state TUR, whereas the second tier was only activated if the state TUR was at least six percent. Furthermore, the third and fourth tiers were only initiated once the TUR had risen above seven and nine percent, respectively. The duration of benefits also varied from level to level.
Note: While the EUC program was in effect, it took precedence over the standard EB program. Therefore, in order to obtain UI continuations from the SEB program, state workers were required to exhaust their EUC unemployment extension benefits.
Likewise, the federal government initiated the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program in 2020. However, both of these programs have expired.
Last Updated: February 28, 2023