Unemployment Benefits in Georgia

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It's a tough economy, and unfortunately, many Atlanta and Georgia workers find themselves out of work. If you are one of them, this article will answer some common questions about unemployment benefits in Georgia, and who is eligible to receive them.

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Can I Receive Georgia Unemployment Benefits If I Quit My Job?

Sorry, unemployment benefits are designed to protect those who lost their job. If you choose to quit your job, it is unlikely that you will be able to collect benefits. There are some exceptions to this. If you quit your job for a specific, work-related reason (meaning it's not just because you didn't like your job), you may be eligible for benefits. Examples of these types of reasons include a material change in working conditions, a material change in working agreement, nonpayment for work, and similar reasons.

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Who is Eligible?

Unemployment Insurance in Georgia is defined as "temporary income for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and are either looking for another job, have a definite recall within 6 weeks of the last day worked, or are in approved training." That means you have to have lost your job (typically through a layoff, not due to your own actions). You must also be actively ​seeking work and be able to work a new job. If offered a job, you can't refuse it, provided that is a reasonable offer of employment.

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Determining the Base Period

You must also be earning sufficient wages in order to qualify. The state has a formula for determining this. They look at the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed at the time you file your claim as a "base period." You must have earned qualifying wages in at least two of the four quarters in the base period. The total wages in the base period must equal or exceed one and one-half times the wages in the highest quarter.

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How Much Can I Collect?

Unemployment benefits in Georgia are a minimum of $44 a week. The actual amount you receive is based on how much you were earning during the base period we talked about above. You can claim unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks.

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Helpful Tips

  • Any money over the amount of $50 that you earn during your period of unemployment must be reported and can be deducted from your unemployment benefits. Other income like pension payments or Social Security may also be deducted from your benefits.
  • If you receive severance benefits, you aren't typically eligible for unemployment during that same period.
  • Unemployment benefits are taxable, and you must report them as income on your next tax return.
  • You will need your ID (need a Georgia Driver's License?) and it is helpful if you have a letter from your former employee to help prove eligibility.
  • Most Georgia residents can file for benefits online.
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