Georgia is among the top three states with the highest unemployment numbers: nearly 1.6 million filings, or 30 percent of the state’s workforce. Those are challenging numbers, especially with many industries only now facing the full force of COVID-19-related closings and lack of demand.
If you’ve recently lost your job, you may be wondering what’s next. Much depends on the circumstances of your job loss.
What to do if you lost your job because you got sick
If you lost your job because you contracted COVID-19 at work, you may be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim. However, it can be a challenge to prove that you contracted the coronavirus on the job. While we covered this more extensively in an earlier blog post, first responders have the best chance of demonstrating that they were, in fact, sickened on the job. For high-risk federal employees, it’s even assumed that in-person and close interactions with the public will create a high likelihood of infection.
Georgia’s code regarding occupational illnesses and diseases may create difficulties for some employees to claim workers’ comp, but it’s always helpful to discuss your unique situation with a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney.
What to do if you’re out of work
If you lost your job because of the economic results of the pandemic, you’ll want to initiate a claim for unemployment benefits with the Georgia Department of Labor. Here’s how to do it:
- Visit dol.georgia.gov and click “apply for unemployment benefits”
- Check the acknowledgement affidavit
- Enter your personal information
- Look for an email stating your application has been received
- Look for a follow-up email stating your claim has been processed
- Track your claim through the DOL site
Note, too, that in April, the DOL began adding a weekly $600 from the federal government to Georgia claims.
If you don’t qualify for regular state unemployment benefits, you may still be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which is available to self-employed workers, gig workers and 1099 independent contractors. You can find instructions on how to apply on the DOL site.
You’ll find other helpful resources regarding possible benefits and assistance programs in the state on the Georgia.gov site. We know this is an unbelievably hard time for many Georgians, but we’re here to help.
Your Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you better understand the system, guide your conversations with the insurance company and ensure you have all the documentation you need to make a strong case. The Law Offices of Laura Lanzisera can explain Georgia’s workers’ compensation system and the benefits available for your injury or disability. Contact our office today for a free consultation.