More Georgians to protest over unreceived unemployment benefits

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Several dozen people are expected to demonstrate at the Georgia Department of Labor office in Marietta Thursday morning.

Channel 2 Action News has been covering protests for days. Many are saying they haven’t received unemployment benefits since March and they can’t wait anymore.

We’re continuing to get answers from state officials about unemployment benefits, on Channel 2 Action News

On Wednesday, state lawmakers and unemployed Georgians protested outside the department of labor’s office in Gwinnett County.

“What’s the difference between the department of labor’s customer service and the cable company’s customer service? You can actually speak to someone at the cable company,” one protester said.

On Tuesday, there was another protest where several people were in tears outside the department of labor’s office in downtown Atlanta.

[Group protests outside Georgia Department of Labor to demand unemployment answers]

“I have no money. I deserve it like everybody else,” one protester said.

One hundred thousand Georgians have waited on unemployment checks since March

Here’s how the department responded:

“For our March through May claims (what we are calling our older, most critical claims) 42,000 have not been paid. Of those not paid, 21,000 are disqualified and won’t ever be eligible for payment. Of the other 21,000, these have issues associated that must be manually reviewed for eligibility. Those reviews are currently underway.”

“I am 69-years-old but I work two jobs just to pay my bills every month. I haven’t had a paycheck since March 13,” Carmen Lindsey said.

People like Lindsey called their elected officials for help.

Many of those officials met with the Georgia commissioner of Labor Mark Butler to talk about these concerns but say they’re getting nowhere

“People are going into foreclosure, their cars are being repossessed, they’re living in their cars, they’re living in shelters and these people need to be paid because we are sick and tired Mark Butler and we want you to feel the pain that we are feeling,” said Rep. Kim Schofield.

The state says the lawmakers complaining submitted 63 claims for review over the past few weeks and of those submitted all but five were resolved or determined to be ineligible for benefits.

The commissioner’s office sent a statement regarding some of the protests:

“We here at the Georgia Department of Labor are very disappointed in the actions of certain members of the Georgia State Legislature. After working with several Georgia legislators from both sides of the aisle, we implemented a process for these elected officials to forward information to our office regarding older claims. Ironically, some of the legislators present at today’s press conference have had their constituent issues personally handled by the men and women working inside the location they spoke in front of. Both Representative Scott and Representative Schofield have submitted 63 claims for review in the past few weeks. Of those claims, all but five were resolved with payments issued or a determination of ineligibility. The outstanding five are complicated claims and are continuing to be worked on. It saddens me that politics has gotten to the point it has here in Georgia where elected officials would misrepresent critical assistance for political gain. I do, however, applaud the 95% of other legislators of both parties who have been consistently helping us identify individuals with serious issues with their unemployment claims.”

More gatherings are planned for the rest of the week in Georgia at 10 a.m:

  • Thursday, August 6, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Georgia Department of Labor parking lot, 465 Big Shanty Road, Marietta, GA 30066
  • Thursday, August 6, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Georgia Department of Labor parking lot in Macon, 3090 Mercer University Drive, Macon, GA 31204
  • Friday, August 7, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Georgia Department of Labor parking lot (South Fulton), 223 Courtland Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
  • Friday, August 7, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Georgia Department of Labor parking lot, 5717 White Bluff Rd, Savannah, GA 31405
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