DOL says it is hiring staff to deal with appeals backlog that has left many without benefits

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor is hiring new staff to deal with its appeals backlog but Georgians stuck in that backlog say it is not happening fast enough to help them.

“Now that money that I was expecting to be able to help put food on the table is not there. And I’m not getting any answers about when can my statement, my appeals be heard,” Peachtree Corners resident Serena Johnson said.

Johnson told Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray that she has been waiting on her unemployment benefits for three months now but has been told the backlog for appeals at the Department of Labor could stretch more than a year.

“I understand that you’re backlogged, but I still need to eat,” Johnson said.

When Johnson was laid off from her job back in February, she provided DOL the documentation of her 6-week severance package, but the Georgia Department of Labor mistakenly started her weekly unemployment payments immediately.

Three weeks later, they denied her entire claim because of the mistake.


“This is no fault or error of my own,” she said.

But Johnson was told to get the benefits she is owed, she would have to file an appeal.

“I mean, I’m not trying to abuse the system, but the system feels like it’s abusing me,” Johnson said.

Georgia Commissioner of Labor Bruce Thompson acknowledges that he inherited an appeals backlog that dates back to the pandemic.

Telling us in a statement:

“We recently secured mission-critical funding during this past legislative session to hire additional staff and support modernizations to Georgia’s outdated unemployment insurance system. Securing the necessary funding was the first step in rebuilding a robust appeals process that was decimated during the pandemic; now it takes time to train the officers. Typical appeals training can take up to 9 months to become effective and competent.”


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