According to the Georgia Department of Labor, the amount people could earn on a part-time or side job while collecting state unemployment benefits is being reduced from $300 weekly to $150.
The change is part of a sweeping move the department is making to normalize operations, which were revamped last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Returning to normal practices is also being made in light of Georgia deciding to no longer participate in federal unemployment insurance programs enacted through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, according to a press release Thursday, June 10.
Resources for reemployment assistance, as well as information on filing an unemployment claim and details on how employers can file partial claims, can be found on the agency’s webpage at dol.georgia.gov.
The department “will reinstate many of the eligibility requirements waived during the recent pandemic,” the release states.
The income allowance was one of the big changes. Before the pandemic, those collecting jobless benefits could only earn up to $50 on the side.
Raising the amount to $300 “could really help an individual get back on their feet and also be able to earn some extra money,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in April 2020. “That $50 threshold doesn’t really help anybody.”
With the department now setting the amount at $150, “this means reported earnings more than $150 will be deducted dollar for dollar from the weekly entitlement amount,” the release states.
Federal jobless benefits will end this month, with changes, including additional requirements, starting June 27 for claimants and employers, the department said.
Besides the money, perhaps the biggest change for the unemployed is that “claimants must be able and available for work and actively seek employment for each week benefit payments are requested.”
“Pandemic-related eligibility rules previously suspended (a requirement) that claimants be able to work, available to work and actively seeking work,” according to the labor department.
One of the big criticisms of the federal assistance had been that people didn’t have a financial incentive to return to work, a trend that especially affected employers needing workers. The result was “Help Wanted” signs on many businesses.