SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - As thousands of unemployed Georgians wait for benefits, WTOC continues to ask the Department of Labor questions.
Tonight, we are looking into the appeals process. This is where an individual can file an appeal if they were denied unemployment.
The DOL says it has received more than 40,000 appeals.
When a claimant files for unemployment and there’s a discrepancy about the reason for separation, that person goes through the benefit eligibility review. If the DOL determines the individual isn’t eligible for unemployment, an appeal can be filed.
“We have a lot of people who have decided to appeal a decision.”
The Department of Labor says this process is taking longer than usual; not only due to the backlog of appeals but because it takes a specially trained appeals officer to handle it.
“The individuals that adjudicate those appeals have to have a lot more experience in unemployment insurance,” Communications Director Kersha Cartwright said.
And GDOL’s communications director says there are only 34 appeals officers in the department, but they just hired 50 people to help with the eligibility review, to allow more claim examiners to move up to appeals.
“We’re moving the process a little bit. We’re adjusting that as needed, as we need more appeals officers to make decisions,” Cartwright said.
From filing an appeal to the hearing, Cartwright says it’s a six to eight week process. The department says almost 4,000 appeal hearings are scheduled until the end of November.
“The volume is much, much greater than it used to be,” Cartwright said.
A long process but there is good news. The Department of Labor tells me, recently, almost 45 percent of the appeals end up being overturned, going in favor of the appellant.