By Colin Kopel
Filing for Georgia Unemployment Insurance (UI) can be a complicated process leading to multiple questions from both the employer and the employee. This frustration of filing claims is magnified during the coronavirus pandemic due to the mass influx of claims overloading the GA DOL’s capabilities. From long wait times via phone and the website servers continuously slowing down or crashing, I received multiple requests for filing assistance and answers to questions. Most of the issues with the process are individual business specific.
If you have any questions, need assistance deciphering the process, or inquiries after filing claims, reach out to Colin.Kopel@GoliathConsulting.com.
Do I need to file a claim for my employees, or do they file a claim for themselves?
This is contingent upon your plans during the current crisis. If you are temporarily laying your staff off and have the full intention of rehiring the staff, you will file on their behalf. This is called a Partial Claim. The employer is responsible to file each week the employee is out of work. It is not important which day of the week you choose to file for your employees, but it is important you file on the same day every week. Filing a day early can result in the system rejecting your claims and filing a day late can lead to a delay in your staff receiving their benefits.
If you are permanently laying your staff off, they will file on their own behalf. This is only recommended if you do not plan on reopening or you plan on reopening at a reduced capacity.
How do I file Partial Claims for my employees?
You will need access to the DOL UI Employer Portal. If you do not remember your established login credentials, follow the “Reset” links below the login screen. If you need to establish access for the first time, select “Establish Administrator Access.” If you do not have a pin number, check the corresponding box and answer the security questions. In the event your security answers are not working, call the DOL and speak with an operator. They will verify the correct information over the phone so you can login.
Once your administrator access is setup, click “File Employer Filed Claims (Partial Claims)” link and download the template. The DOL created a user-friendly YouTube tutorial you can find here. It is critical your inputted data on the template mirrors the acceptable formatting rules or the site will reject it. Once complete, upload your template. The automated system will determine if there are any errors in the template and guide you through any changes needed.
What happens after I file a Partial Claim?
After the DOL accepts the uploaded template, your claim is complete. Remember, you must refile every week on the same day for your staff to continue receiving benefits. The DOL will mail a letter to your listed business address listing each employee you filed for and their weekly benefit. Your employees will receive further instructions from the DOL on collecting their benefits. Remember: The DOL is currently using reported income from 2019 to calculate the weekly benefit amount.
What if my employee was turned down for UI or received below the maximum $365/week?
Once the DOL has a benefit determination for an employee, it is the employee’s responsibility to correspond with the DOL if a correction is needed. Most of the issues reported to me involve lack of income during the 2019-time frame. The DOL allows employees to dispute the reported wages via submitting earnings reports to the email listed on their determination letter for additional periods of time. As an employer, you should send the earnings reports to the employee, but the burden of submitting it and contesting the amount currently falls on the employee.
Do recently hired employees qualify for Partial UI?
Yes. Any employee on your payroll with hours effected by the coronavirus qualify for Partial Unemployment.
Most of the questions regarding Partial Unemployment are business specific. If you have any questions on filing for your employees or need assistance with the filing process, reach out to me at Colin.Kopel@GoliathConsulting.com
About Goliath Consulting Group
Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.
Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.