Ga. Department of Labor not planning to reopen offices anytime soon

Georgia Department of Labor office in Augusta.
Georgia Department of Labor office in Augusta.(WRDW)
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 8:07 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2020 at 1:10 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We’re continuing to follow the crisis of unemployment benefits in Georgia.

We’ve heard from many of you about the problems you’re having getting financial relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have been getting a little worried.”

LeAnna Maxwell is just another unemployed Georgian wondering how she’ll be able to pay her bills.

“It is hard.”

Maxwell was laid off from her job in March. Her employer filed her unemployment and she received payments up until June.

That’s when she learned she was being permanently laid off.

“They did say they were going to convert my claim over and it would take a couple days,” said Maxwell.

For two weeks, she received payments, then that came to a stop.

“It said ‘Your employer is no longer filing for you but you can continue to file for yourself.’”

She says the online system wouldn’t allow her to self-file and she was essentially locked out of her account.

Maxwell reached out to her employer and the DOL, but received no help. So we reached out to the Department of Labor’s commissioner for answers.

“She had an extremely rare situation, probably one in 100,00,” said GDOL Commissioner Mark Butler.

Butler says after several workers investigated her account, they found something went wrong during the conversion from an employer-filed claim to individual.

“It had to do with a few things that didn’t quite get timed right, either between the employer or her logging in,” said Butler.

The GDOL says the office was able to solve Maxwell’s issue, and payments will be released to her.

Butler is reminding Georgians to not call if they don’t have a serious issue regarding their account. He says many of the questions they receive through phone or email can be answered in the several manuals and FAQs on the DOL’s website.

He says once you exhaust those options and still can’t resolve the issue, then call the Department of Labor.

We asked the Department of Labor if it plans on opening offices anytime soon, the commissioner says no. Commissioner Butler says it still isn’t safe to re-open.

He did say they are putting together a scheduling system where people can schedule phone consultations online.

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