Georgia Department of Labor
Updated: April 28, 2020
Unemployment Assistance for Self-Employed People, Gig Workers, Independent Contractors, and Others
My office receives many questions with questions about how to receive unemployment assistance if a person is self-employed, a gig worker, an independent contractor, an employee of churches or non-profits, or those with limited work history, who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits.
The CARES Act provides federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to many workers, who are not normally eligible for unemployment. States like Georgia began setting up these programs and are beginning to issue payments.
The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) must determine that an individual is ineligible to receive state benefits before being evaluated for federal PUA benefits. The first step is for the individual to file a regular state unemployment claim application, where you will be asked questions about your employment and wages for the last 18 months.
The Georgia Department of Labor recently began notifying applicants who are potentially eligible for PUA. Individuals who already filed a claim with the GDOL and determined not eligible for state unemployment benefits and may be potentially eligible to receive benefits under this program, do NOT have to refile a regular state claim.
Please visit the Georgia Department of Labor website for more information.
How Georgia's Reopening Affects Unemployment
Many people are concerned about how workplaces reopening will affect unemployment assistance.
If your place of employment remains closed, or your hours are much lower, you may still be eligible for unemployment. In Georgia, you can earn up to $300 per week before your unemployment benefits are affected.
If your job reopens and you are worried about COVID-19, please collaborate with your employer on plans to return to work. Under the CARES Act people may be eligible for unemployment if they left their job as a direct result of being diagnosed with, testing positive for, or coming into direct contact with someone who has COVID-19.
You may learn more about unemployment in Georgia by visiting the Georgia Department of Labor’s website.
Updated: March 30, 2020
Many people who lost their job or were laid off are applying for unemployment benefits for the first time. The CARES Act provides additional Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits for Americans workers in need of a helping hand.
Notably, the bill also expanded these benefits to give states the option to offer benefits to individuals who are self-employed, independent contractors, and “gig” economy workers. If the State of Georgia chooses to expand the program, it would assist many struggling artists, independent workers, and others who are suffering through no fault of their own in Metro Atlanta
Updated: March 26, 2020
The Georgia Department of Labor has announced two emergency rules for unemployment benefit.
The first rule extends the length of time an individual can collect benefits from 14 weeks to 26 weeks.
The second rule exempts the first $300 of a person's weekly wages from counting against a person's unemployment. This means that someone who has been laid off can earn up to $300 per week in a part-time job and still receive their full unemployment benefits.
For more information, please see the press release from the Georgia Department of Labor.
Updated: March 22, 2020
If you lose your job or are furloughed through no fault of your own, you may qualify for unemployment assistance. Please know that I am currently working with my colleagues to find innovative ways to help the unemployed, including part-time and restaurant workers, the self-employed, and freelance workers with irregular pay.
- What is unemployment insurance? Unemployment insurance (UI) is a state-federal partnership in which states fund benefits out of state trust funds, with federal support for administrative costs. Many aspects of UI are set in state law.
- Who can qualify? Generally, a person will qualify if they lost their job through no fault of their own; earned enough money in the last year or so to set up a claim; and are able to, available to, and looking for work each week that they claim benefits.
- What is Congress doing? H.R. 6201, the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act became law this week. This bill provides additional resources for States to administer unemployment programs and requires they be made available to people who apply.
- How do I apply? Please visit the Georgia Department of Labor for more information or to apply for assistance.
Updated: March 15, 2020
H.R. 6201, the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act, provides additional resources for States to administer unemployment programs. If you lose your job or are furloughed, please visit the Georgia Department of Labor for more information about getting unemployment assistance.