Business owners, experts alike say extra $300 in unemployment much needed – but not all will see it

ATLANTA — A new plan could get Georgians more unemployment money, but not everyone will get it.

Channel 2′s Michael Seiden has learned that those eligible must be unemployed or partially employed due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That means if you lost your job before it or for reasons other than COVID-19, you don’t qualify.

Still, experts hope the new funds will provide some much-needed relief.

“I have some clients some days. Then weeks at a time, I just don’t have any clients,” said Ann Tran, who owns My Own Beauty Aesthetics.

Like so many other small-business owners in Georgia crushed by the pandemic, Tran, who opened her own luxury spa on Chamblee Tucker Road in February, is working hard to bounce back.

But with hundreds of thousands of Georgians out of work, she’s losing sleep and afraid that her business won’t survive.

“Everything went good around February. I had a grand opening. Then March, and everything started hitting the fan with COVID in Georgia,” Tran said.


But there is a glimpse of hope after Gov. Brian Kemp and the state’s Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced that hundreds of thousands of Georgians who lost their jobs because of the pandemic could receive an additional $300 a week of unemployment benefits.

“This new benefit the president signed actually is utilizing money from FEMA, which is not typical for what we do,” Butler said. “We’ve applied for the money and gotten the money. And now, we have to program it into the system.”

The Department of Labor reported it could take at least four weeks before the money hits your bank account.

“This certainly helps. The unemployed are in a tough spot. There’s a lot of concern because businesses may be open, but they’re not open at full capacity, and the consumer and the public are not at their full capacity,” said Laura Wheeler, senior researcher at the Fiscal Research Center at Georgia State University.

“I don’t know. Because I have brick and mortar, I don’t know how the economy will be in two years. So I don’t know what direction to move my business. Let it go or move forward?” Tran said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Labor said if you qualify for the benefits, then all you need to do is stay patient. You don’t need to call or submit another application, just sit tight and the state expects the funds to hit your bank account within the next three to four weeks.

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