Georgia rolls out new safeguards for unemployment claims system

(The Center Square) — Saying fraud has prompted new protocols, the Georgia Department of Labor has rolled out new safeguards the agency says should protect the state’s employers and taxpayers.

After the agency suspended its Employer-Filed (Partial) Claims System last month, citing “the steady increase of fraud nationwide,” the Georgia Department of Labor added the new protocols to the reinstated program.

To submit Employer-Filed Partial Claims on behalf of their employees, employers must now be current on all quarterly tax and wage reports, and their accounts must have been registered within the past five years. Additionally, employers must be current on all quarterly contribution taxes, assessments, penalties and interest, and the week-ending date on employer-filed claims cannot be more than 30 days old.

“The new and improved safeguards to the Employee-Filed Partial Claims program will ensure tax dollars are spent wisely, and UI Benefits are only extended to eligible individuals,” Commissioner Bruce Thompson said in an announcement. “We are cognizant that the actions made at this agency greatly affect our employers and their employees. Decisions are carefully weighed with a desire to minimize the impact to our business community while maximizing the effectiveness.”

Under the amended Georgia Employment Security Rule, which took effect June 29, part-time employees are not eligible for Employer-Filed Partial Claims.

“There are no additional costs associated with the new safeguards,” a department spokesperson confirmed to The Center Square.

In December, federal authorities charged eight people on allegations they conspired to defraud Georgia out of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits.

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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