Unemployment Insurance Extensions in Georgia

An unemployment benefits extension in Georgia is only available during periods of severe unemployment throughout the state. Therefore, unemployment benefits extensions may not always be available. A Georgia unemployment extension status can change at any moment, so applicants should check with the Department of Labor (DOL) periodically to find out if they qualify for extensions in benefits. It is also important to know how federal unemployment extensions operate and how they affect an individual state’s circumstances. Knowing how to get an unemployment extension is equally valuable information when hard pressed for financial assistance. An unemployment compensation extension can make a huge difference in a beneficiary’s life, so it is important to understand how the process works. Applicants wondering, “What can I do to extend unemployment benefits?” should read the following sections to learn more about the unemployment extension process.

How can I extend unemployment in Georgia?

Those experiencing severe unemployment conditions may ask “What can I do to extend unemployment in Georgia?” after their regular UI benefits expire and yet have no job prospects on the horizon. Unemployment extensions in Georgia come in two varieties: the federal unemployment compensation extension and state extended benefits. Both may be available at any given time, but a claimant can often only receive benefits from one.

Emergency Unemployment Compensation

The federal unemployment extension is called Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration operates the program. The federal unemployment extension program benefits claimants who exhaust all state level unemployment extension benefits to which they are entitled. The last EUC payments ended in 2013. However, when active, the EUC was available in four tiers:

  • Tier One: Available for up to 14 weeks in every state.
  • Tier Two: Available for 14 weeks in those states that had a total unemployment rate of six percent or higher.
  • Tier Three: Available for up to nine weeks by individuals in states whose total unemployment rate reached seven percent.
  • Tier Four: Available for up to 10 weeks by unemployed residents in states experiencing total unemployment rates of nine percent or more.

The federal unemployment extension paid out under the EUC plan is identical to the regular unemployment insurance received by an individual. The EUC extension provides up to 13 weeks of additional compensation and up to 20 weeks in states that offer a supplementary seven weeks during times of extraordinary unemployment. The total extended benefits compensation plan may be less than 13 weeks (and less than 20 weeks in those states offering additional extensions). Eligibility for an extension for federal unemployment compensation may not be applicable to everyone who qualified for regular unemployment insurance. The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) makes a determination for each individual as to whether or not he or she may qualify. To learn more about EUC requirements and regulations, download our comprehensive guide.

State Extended Benefits (SEB)

Further unemployment compensation extension opportunities are available to individuals who completely exhaust their regular unemployment insurance as well as the first, second, third and fourth tiers of their EUC. Such unemployment benefits extensions are called State Extended Benefits (SEB). Like EUC, SEB was made available as a result of the dire unemployment that arose during the financial crisis of 2008.

For this Georgia unemployment extension, the Department of Labor calculated SEB payments according to an individual’s regular unemployment benefits. The amount of unemployment benefits extension received was the lesser of two different amounts: either 80 percent of the entire benefits payout of a person’s most recent regular UI benefits claim dispersed at the same weekly rate or 20 times the regular weekly benefits payout. Learning how to get an unemployment extension through the SEB when it is available is crucial for workers during dire times of unemployment.

Unemployment benefits extension payments under the Georgia Department of Labor’s SEB program classified individuals into two groups of good and not good. For the purposes of determining a GA unemployment extension, the group into which an individual was categorized depended on his or her answer to the question, “Are you guaranteed to start a job within 30 days of this application?” Good prospects for an unemployment compensation extension answered that they would start a job within 30 days of their application submission. Their eligibility for an extension was still bound by any job search obligations and requirements set by the GDOL. Extended unemployment benefits candidates regarded as not good meant that they acknowledged they would not start a new job within 30 days of their application. Individuals falling into this category were subject to more rigorous SEB job search standards.

SEB Georgia Unemployment Extension Job Search Requirements

Qualifying for a Georgia unemployment benefits extension under the state’s SEB program requires applicants to submit to a more strict process. Those receiving extended UI benefits must look for a job every week they receive benefits. Candidates must document their search efforts and demonstrate at least two forms of contact with an employer per work week with contacts occurring on different days. Any payments for unemployment extension are subject to termination and/or repayment if a job seeker does not fulfill the job search requirements. A denial of extended UI compensation benefits may require an applicant to go back to work for no less than four weeks while earning an amount no less than four times the weekly benefit amount.

Continued extensions of UI compensation is contingent upon applicants applying for, as well as taking, any job which they are able to perform, pays more than the weekly benefit amount and pays at least the minimum wage in Georgia. Therefore, retaining an unemployment compensation extension in Georgia may result in a job seeker accepting employment outside his or her normal occupational field. Extended UI benefits claims applicants may be reclassified as good with a written job offer from an employer and are held accountable to those requirements. Find out more about job search requirements for an unemployment extension here.