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How to Calculate Unemployment Benefits in Georgia

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Georgia's Unemployment Insurance program provides temporary financial benefits to workers who have lost their jobs or had a reduction in work hours through no fault of their own. The program provides unemployed or underemployed workers with partial wage replacement to assist with living expenses until they can find employment or until the benefits expire.

Calculation of Weekly Benefit Amounts

In Georgia as of 2015, the minimum weekly benefit was $44, and the weekly maximum was $330. An applicant’s weekly benefit amount depends on wages earned during the base period. The base period includes the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed when the applicant files a claim. The actual weekly benefit amount is the total amount of wages earned in the two highest-earnings quarters divided by 42.

Alternate Weekly Benefit Calculation

If an applicant’s total wages in the base period don't equal 1½ times of the wages earned in the highest-earnings quarter in the base period, an alternative base period of the most recent four calendar quarters may be used. Using the alternate calculation, a weekly benefit amount is determined by dividing the wages earned in the highest quarter by 21.

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Situations Affecting Benefit Payments

Any pay received as a result of employment separation, such as severance or dismissal pay, may result in a decrease or cancellation of unemployment benefits for that week if the amount of the pay is greater than the weekly benefit amount. Retirement and workers’ compensation income may also affect the benefit amount received.

Continuing Eligibility

Those receiving unemployment benefits may collect them up to a maximum of 14 to 20 weeks, depending on the seasonal unemployment insurance rate effective at the time of the claim. Whether an applicant can collect benefits for the maximum number of weeks depends upon the wages earned during the base period and whether he or she meets the eligibility requirements each week. Federal unemployment benefit extensions may be available when Georgia is experiencing high unemployment rates. If this extension is available, the applicant will receive notification from Georgia's Department of Labor.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Amber Collins has been working in private-sector Human Resources for 10 years. Collins has been certified as a Professional in human resources by the Human Resources Certification Institute since 2007. She holds a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in human resources management from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

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