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Unemployment Benefits Eligibility
General Benefits Eligibility Criteria
If you received wages during the last two years in Georgia, you may file an online Georgia unemployment benefits claim. If you currently live in Georgia and in the past two years earned income or wages in another state, you can get information about filing your claim in the state where you earned wages at a local career center. There, you can also register for other beneficial services, including employment services and training.
All unemployment benefits applicants who are at least 18-years-old, pursuant to Georgia law, must sign an affidavit stating they are either a U.S. citizen, a permanent legal resident, or a legally present non-citizen. To complete the affidavit, you have to provide a valid government-issued picture identification. Employment Authorization Documents are required for all non-citizens. Before unemployment benefits will be paid, your registration must be reviewed and verified by Homeland Security.
If you previously completed and filed an Applicant Status Affidavit, there is no need to submit another one. However, every time a non-US citizen files an unemployment claim of any type, the employment Authorization Documents will need to be provided to GDOL.
If you file your claim at a GDOL career center, you can complete and file the affidavit on the same day as long as you have all your required documentation. If you do not have all the required documentation, you will get an email with instructions on how to complete the affidavit process. If you fail to sign and submit the affidavit, it will likely mean a delay in or potential denial of your benefits.
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Work Eligibility Criteria
- Applicants for benefits must meet work eligibility requirements to collect and receive unemployment benefits in Georgia. Applicants must:
• be out of work through no fault of their own, as defined by Georgia law,
• be willing, able, and available to work, and
- actively seek employment.
Wages Eligibility Criteria
Applicants must meet the following wages eligibility requirement in order to collect unemployment benefits in Georgia:
- your past wages and earnings must meet a minimum threshold.
Almost all states review your recent employment history and earned wages during a one- year "base period" to determine your unemployment benefits eligibility. In Georgia, as is the case for most states, base period is the earliest four of five annual calendar quarters prior to you filing your unemployment benefits claim. For instance, if you applied in October of 2015, the base period would be from June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015.
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 and received at least $1,134.00 in wages during the two quarters of your base period in which you earned the highest wages, and
- your total wages during your base period must be at least 1.5 times your earned wages in the highest recorded quarter of your base period.
Unemployment Availability Limits
The maximum a person can receive in benefits is $330 a week for unemployment claims filed after June 30, 2008. The amount of wages earned during the base period will determine the benefit limit.
Before July 1, 2012, 26 weeks was the maximum amount of weeks you could receive unemployment benefits. Beginning in July of 2012, a range of 14 to 20 weeks was introduced. This means a claimant can receive as few as 14 weeks of benefits and as many as 20 weeks of benefits depending on the statewide unemployment rate at the time the claimant filed his or her unemployment claim. For claims filed between July 1 and December 31 of any given year, Georgia’s adjusted seasonally unemployment rate for April of that year will be used. For claims filed between January 1 through June 30 of any given year, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October of the previous year is used.
There are no unemployment extensions available in Georgia. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program and Extended Benefits (EB) were discontinued and no longer available as of December 2013. EUC was based on the high national unemployment rate. When the rate improved in 2011-2012, Georgia discontinued both programs.