ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -People under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program could run out of benefits as early as Monday.
Kersha Cartwright, Director of Communications for the Georgia Department of Labor, says that the group that receives the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is specific.
“So, those self-employed folks who had 1099, or you know, those individuals, that what pandemic unemployment insurance was. Your gig workers, those that work for nonprofits a lot of times. Now sometimes, they would have that employer would pay unemployment on them but if they didn’t, then that’s what the PUA program was set up for," said Cartwright.
People could apply for PUA as early as Feb. 2, meaning they could run out as early as Nov. 2.
Cartwright said there are options for these Georgians whose benefits are set to expire... but only if they are eligible for regular unemployment insurance.
“If they have new employment or they have worked somewhere else and they could possibly be eligible on the regular UI side, they could go back and file a claim on that side but for PUA, it is going to end this point after 39 weeks," said Cartwright.
But filing for regular unemployment takes time.
And because of the pandemic, people across the peach state have already experienced delays.
“We work every day to try to auto-process whatever we can to make sure that we’re doing our job over here. So, be patient with us sometimes, and know that the people are in dire straits and are in very serious situations. And we’re trying to work with you and trying to answer your phone calls and respond to your emails and messages on social as quickly as we can," said Cartwright.
Starting Monday, the Georgia Department of Labor is launching a new pilot program to put more Georgians in contact with their office.
Through the new appointment scheduler, people can arrange and schedule virtual appointments with a claims representative to answer questions and speed up the filing process.