Another lawsuit has been filed against the Georgia Department of Labor over how unemployment claims have been filed during the pandemic.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed a suit recently over the process in place for determining how claims are processed for Georgians as well as generalized data on the office. SPLC says it is entitled to that information under the Georgia Open Records Act.
The organization specifically wants to know why delays continue to hold up claims of Georgians seeking unemployment insurance. Since the spike in claims last spring, Georgians across the state have complained about an inability to reach a live person who can assist with appeals, denials, and general questions about the unemployment claims process.
“We want to understand why it is taking so long for people to get an answer on their claims and why the rate of denial is so high, I believe that Georgia may be number two in the rate of denials in unemployment claims across the nation,” Emily Early of SPLC’s Economic Justice Project told WSAV.
SPLC says it has not received the information from GDOL regarding the data and the claims process, which is why a suit was filed in court.
Meanwhile, GDOL says more than five million claims have been processed since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. In a press release March 18th, the office said “Georgians have received more than $19.6 billion since March 21 of 2020, more than the past 57 years prior to the pandemic combined. Last week, the GDOL dispersed over $310 million in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits including regular unemployment insurance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), State Extended Benefits (SEB), and Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) supplements.”