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Gov. Kemp, Department of Labor extend unemployment benefits for struggling Georgians
Georgia Department of Labor
The Georgia Department of Labor offers state residents the opportunity to apply for unemployment benefits when in need. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

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Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order Thursday morning allowing for the Georgia Department of Labor to create new emergency rules to help Georgians who are suffering financially during the pandemic.

GDOL Commissioner Mark Butler added two new emergency rules to the unemployment filing process Thursday. The first more than doubled the amount of time that individuals can continue receiving unemployment benefits — going from 14 weeks to 26 weeks.

The other rule added says that the first $300 that individuals earn in a week will not take away from their eligibility for unemployment benefits. The GDOL explained that this means if someone wanted to get a part-time job, they can now earn up to $300 per week and still receive full benefits.

“We understand Georgia businesses and workers are anxious during the COVID-19 public health crisis about how to take care of themselves, their families and their businesses,” Butler said. “We are making unprecedented modifications to policies to help all Georgians survive this economic hardship and get us all back to work.”

Kemp signed the executive order in response to unemployment claim numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor Thursday morning. The report showed that more than 3.2 million Americans have filed for unemployment in only the past week.

The department created other emergency rules last week that expanded unemployment eligibility and allowed for employers to file partial claims for the employees who are out of work or working reduced hours.

In the fall, the GDOL also plans to implement a Claims Status Dashboard that will allow individuals who have filed a claim to check up on the status of their claim.

GDOL is encouraging residents to check their website for now for any job opportunities available in their communities as there are still businesses out there who need extra help.