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Federal unemployment insurance set to end one day after Christmas, ‘hundreds of thousands’ of Georgians impacted

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A federal unemployment insurance program signed into law to help those unemployed during the pandemic is set to expire one day after Christmas.

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, all federal unemployment insurance programs signed into law with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will expire on December 26.

The unemployment program impacts hundreds of thousands of Georgians, according to labor officials.

The law allowed unemployment benefits for worker impacted by the COVID-19, including workers who are not ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits.

After the program ends, the Georgia Department of Labor will not be able to continue to pay for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), or State Extended Benefits.

“We will continue to process and adjudicate all of the claims we receive paying all eligible benefits as quickly as possible,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Congress will decide if a new program will be implemented or extensions will be put in place.”

Labor officials report claimants receiving regular state unemployment insurance will continue to receive benefits for weeks they are found eligible, up to 26 weeks.

Additionally, claimants who have not exhausted all their benefits provided by the CARES Act will not receive the balance of their funds for any weeks after December 26.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, 344,929 PUA claims have been processed. Due to federal guidelines, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is limited to 39 weeks of benefits. Claimants who began receiving benefits at the beginning of the program (2/2/2020) are now exhausting those benefits with no extension currently in place”, according to a statement from the Georgia Department of Labor.

Resources for reemployment assistance along with information on filing an unemployment claim and details on how employers can file partial claims can be found on the agency’s webpage at dol.georgia.gov.

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