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Rejected: Unemployment claims hit by possible processing errors bringing new coronavirus headache

11Alive's financial expert Andrew Poulos explains what might be happening and what those filing will need to do next.

ATLANTA — After having the time to research, the Georgia Department of Labor found that the reason the claims referenced in this report were rejected was because of the way they were entered into the system.

"The employer reported the employees’ wages under the worker’s first name rather than the last name on the Employer Spreadsheet. This caused an error in wage reporting. We fixed these claims for him. There was also a misunderstanding in the wage determination time frame used to establish a claim," a spokesperson said.

The Georgia Department of Labor added, "We are here to help individual applicants and employers work through this process. We are seeing three times the number of employer filed claims than individuals and have put together a tutorial on our website that will walk employers through the process step by step."

There is now a page of their website with unemployment resources listed in one place - https://dol.georgia.gov/gdol-covid-19-information

The original story is below:

Some unemployment claims are already being rejected in Georgia, leaving another headache for those facing financial uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus.

And, as 11Alive expert Andrew Poulos explains, it's not so much a question of if the problems can be rectified. It's a question of how long it could take.

"In this case, what we're seeing ... is what we're assuming to be processing errors from the side of the Department of Labor," Poulos said. 

Those errors, Poulos said, have already led to some being rejected when filing for unemployment - this at a time when businesses around Georgia haven been forced to close or lay off employees just to make it through.

"After doing some research this afternoon, we're starting to see a common denominator which is the Department of Labor showing that certain periods, certain quarters, employees haven't worked in those quarters so they're denying claims," Poulos said.

RELATED: How to file an unemployment claim in Georgia if your job has been affected by coronavirus

But there is a way forward. Poulos said that when a claim is rejected, a letter will be mailed out. The letter will include the date it was mailed and the date by which an appeal has to be filed.

"If you don't file an appeal by that deadline then you miss out on your unemployment benefits for that week," Poulos said. "Because, again, ... temporary unemployment benefits are week-to-week right now."

It's best to file appeals to appeals@gdol.ga.gov, Poulos said.

"Additionally, they're going to have to reach out to their employer because, right now, the requirement and the honus is on employers to submit temporary unemployment claims every week to the department of labor electronically," he said. "So, the employer needs to be aware of what's going on in a case where employees are beginning to receive rejection letters."

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After that, it's a question of how long the process will take. And given the record number of unemployment claims being filed, the answer isn't so clear-cut.

"How much personnel is working at the Department of Labor and how quickly will they act on this when they're receiving probably thousands, tens of thousands or possibly even, in metro Atlanta, millions of claims in the coming weeks," Poulos said.

And because of that, it may mean even extra effort on the Department of Labor's part to get the appeals handled.

"So, can this get resolved? Yes, but we need the assistance and cooperation of the Department of Labor to work with us as employers and accounting firms and employees to rectify this and get it expedited so employees can receive their benefits in a timely manner," Poulos added.

A spokesperson for the Department of Labor said that the agency was working with Poulos and is looking to see how the claims were prepared. The agency is investigating the specifics of this case and the spokesperson said they may be able to provide more information soon. 

She added that they are working to ease the worries of Georgians at this time.


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