SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – An additional $1,800 is on its way soon to some Georgians already receiving unemployment benefits.
The funds are coming from the nation’s Lost Wages Assistance Program.
For some, it’s a welcome boost. For others, it’s a reminder they are still waiting for a first check.
“We need help and we’re not getting it,” said Whitemarsh Island resident Brian Armstrong.
In March, he says his employer filed a claim on his behalf, and he was approved for benefits in June. Since then, he says GDOL has not responded to his emails or phone calls for the money.
“I have rent stacking up, my other bills are stacking up and it’s getting to the point where if this keeps up, I’m going to end up being homeless,” said Armstrong.
He’s not alone. Last month, GDOL reported that around 7 thousand Georgians have been approved for unemployment benefits but have not received any type of payment.
WSAV has asked GDOL for updated numbers. A media representative says they are working on our request, which should be available by early next week.
Armstrong’s Savannah Rep. Jesse Petrea says he has contacted GDOL for hundreds of his constituents who also have had problems getting in contact with the department.
“I have been patient and understanding, but I have also been demanding of the department that my constituents get the help they need,” said Petrea.
The representative says he hopes state legislators will discuss how to improve GDOL, which may include resources for more staff members and improved software.
“There was no way to prepare for this, so there was no manpower in place. So it was a manpower shortage, but the department has been working around the clock to get these claims processed,” he said.
Since March, GDOL has processed 3,646,864 claims.
“At the end of the day, people have valid claims and they need to be addressed,” said Petrea.
Armstrong says he could not agree more.
“All my friends kept telling me to be patient, but patience left a month ago,” he said. “I just can’t be patient anymore. I don’t know what else to do. I’m frustrated.”