SAVANNAH, GA. (WSAV) – Last week in a U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, Senator Jon Ossoff secured a commitment from a key Biden Administration appointee to help fix Georgia’s broken unemployment insurance system, as thousands of Georgians who lost their jobs during the pandemic reported months-long delays in the processing of their applications for emergency support from Georgia’s Department of Labor.
According to a report released by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute in February 2021, the Georgia Department of Labor’s reliance on outdated technology is one of the key factors contributing to ongoing, widespread processing delays.
Sen. Ossoff asked Robin Carnahan, President Biden’s nominee to be the Administrator of the federal General Services Administration, to commit to helping Georgia’s Department of Labor upgrade their systems. Carnahan committed to do so.
“This is something that’s happened across the country, Georgia is not alone in this, I know it feels like it sometimes, but every state has had similar issues because these unemployment systems were, frankly, not invested in for so many years and then were overwhelmed. But that’s no excuse. And now we have to think of this as an opportunity to rebuild better,” Carnahan explains.
Sen. Ossoff stressed the fact that for thousands of Georgians who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the delays in unemployment insurance payments caused additional financial distress for families across the state in the midst of a public health crisis.
In March, Sen. Ossoff joined Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock, Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), and members of the Georgia congressional delegation in calling on the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate sweeping delays in the processing of approved unemployment benefits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal unemployment in Georgia will end on Saturday June 26th 2021.