How To File For Georgia Unemployment

This page provides information on how to file for unemployment in Georgia. If you lost your job or your hours were reduced at no fault of your own, you may qualify to receive unemployment benefits in your state. Review the information below, if you still have questions or issues about these benefits, then we suggest to contact your local Georgia Unemployment Department for assistance. It is important that you file your new claim right away because Georgia unemployment insurance are not retroactive.

File Georgia unemployment benefits

If you reside in Georgia but have not earned Georgia wages in the past two years, go to a Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) career center to obtain information for filing a claim against the proper state.

To file an unemployment claim via the Internet, you must have a valid email address. This email account should be your personal email address because private and confidential information about your claim will be sent to this email address. To access the online filing system, click here. If you have earned Georgia wages in the past two years, you can file a Georgia Internet claim.

Information needed when filing a claim

When filing a claim, you should have:

  • Your social security number, as a claim cannot be filed without a social security number
  • Valid/unexpired government-issued picture identification
  • Employer-issued separation notice or letter, if available
  • Names, addresses, and dates of employment of all employers for the last 18 months
  • Alien number and expiration date for non-citizens
  • SF-50 or SF-8 form and paystubs for federal employment in the last two years
  • Most recent DD-214, orders to report or of release, military earnings/leave statement, or W-2 form(s) for former military personnel
  • Personal banking account and routing number for direct deposit
  • A copy of your most recently filed income tax return or quarterly estimated income tax payment record(s), if applying for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) and you are self-employed or a farmer

Your claim is effective the date you first file for benefits. GDOL does not backdate claims.

Georgia unemployment benefits eligibility

There are several qualification requirements, but these three are critical:

  • You must have earned enough money in the base period to set up a claim
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own
  • You must be able to work, be available for work, and be actively seeking work each week you claim benefits
Applicant Status Affidavit

Georgia law requires all applicants for unemployment benefits who are 18 years of age or older sign an affidavit attesting they are (1) a US citizen or a legal permanent resident or (2) a non-citizen legally present in the US.

Individuals who are 18 years of age or older, must execute this affidavit whether the claim is filed via the Internet or in a GDOL career center. Individuals who are 18 years of age or older, must provide valid/unexpired government-issued picture identification to complete the affidavit. Employment Authorization Document(s) are also required for non-citizens. Your employment authorization status with the Department of Homeland Security must be verified before benefits can be paid, if eligible.

Georgia Residents

If you are filing your claim in a Georgia Department of Labor career center and have the required document(s), you may complete the affidavit the same day. Otherwise, you will receive an email providing instructions on completing the affidavit process.

Non-Georgia Residents

If you are not a resident of Georgia, you will receive an email which contains a link to the affidavit. You will need to print the affidavit, complete the required information, sign and have the affidavit notarized and mailed to the Interstate Unit at the address below which will also be in the email.

Georgia Department of Labor, Interstate Unit
P.O. Box 38184
Atlanta, GA 30334

You must also mail a legible copy of your valid/unexpired, government-issued picture identification or Employment Authorization Document(s), if applicable, to the Interstate Unit at the address shown above which will also be in the email. Failure to complete the affidavit process may result in a delay or denial of benefits.

Base Period

The base period is the period of time they look at to determine if you have been paid enough wages to establish a claim. For Georgia, the base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed at the time you file your claim. An alternative base period consisting of the most recently completed four calendar quarters will be used only when a claim cannot be established using the regular base period.

The Georgia minimum and maximum weekly benefits

The minimum is $44 per week. The maximum is $330 for claims filed. The amount an individual will receive is based on the amount of wages earned in the base period.

The Georgie minimum and maximum number of claim weeks

The maximum number of weeks a claim can be established will range from 14 to 20, depending on the seasonal adjusted statewide unemployment rate in use at the time the regular UI claim is filed. For claims filed from July 1 through December 31, Georgia’s seasonal adjusted UI rate for the previous April will be used. For claims filed from January 1 through June 30, Georgia’s seasonal adjusted UI rate for the previous October will be used. The minimum number of weeks is 6.

Claim benefits after filing

Once you file your claim, you will be required to certify your eligibility for each week you claim benefits and submit your work search for each week of benefits claimed. You may claim benefits using the telephone interactive voice response system, over the Internet, or in person at a GDOL Career Center.

Receiving unemployment payments

Payments can be made by direct deposit or debit card. The preferred method is direct deposit into your personal checking or savings account. If you do not enroll in direct deposit, payments will be deposited to your Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard which works likes a standard debit card. Payments by paper checks are no longer issued.

File an appeal

The only way for a decision to be reviewed and potentially reversed is to file an appeal. You have the right to file an appeal of any decision made by the department on your claim. The appeal rights expire 15 days after the date the decision is released. The Commissioner of Labor does not have the authority to intervene in the appeals process. If the decision is on your separation from work, your employer also has the right to appeal. An administrative hearing officer will conduct the appeal.

An appeal request must be in writing and can be submitted by email, fax, mail or hand delivered to a Georgia Department of Labor Career Center. The contact information to submit your timely appeal request can be found on your determination notice. The written request must include, at a minimum, the name of the claimant, the social security number contained on the determination being appealed and some indication of intent to file an appeal.

Once an appeal is filed, it usually takes from 2 - 2 1/2 weeks for a hearing to take place. The department is required to send written notice of the hearing time, date, and all issues to be discussed. This notice must be mailed at least 10 days before the hearing takes place. A written decision is mailed to all interested parties. You should continue to file your weekly certifications while waiting for the appeal hearing/decision.