Coping: State Labor department swamped with more claims in a week than in all of 2019. Changes at area grocers. A Zoom Rotary meeting with healthcare leaders?

Coping: State Labor department swamped with more claims in a week than in all of 2019. Changes at area grocers. A Zoom Rotary meeting with healthcare leaders?

Last week, the Georgia Department of Labor processed more claims in seven days than in all of 2019.
  • The agency processed 390,132 claims during the week of March 29 through April 4, more than three times what was processed the week before.
  • The labor department also issued payments of $41,786,386 in unemployment benefits to 168,319 Georgians last week.
  • A majority of the claims were from individuals from the accommodation and food service industries.

For those individuals currently receiving state unemployment benefits, the GDOL anticipates being able to start delivering the additional $600 supplement from the federal stimulus bill beginning next week. This supplement will be an additional payment to regular weekly state unemployment benefits.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is the federal program that will provide unemployment benefits to those not ordinarily eligible for state benefits. This includes individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, or those with limited work history who will not qualify for state unemployment benefits.  The GDOL is modifying its current online unemployment application adding new questions to better identify those individuals who may be eligible for PUA.  This modified application is expected to be available on Monday, April 13, 2020, on the GDOL website. Once the application is received, it will take several weeks to process. These additional questions in the application will help determine qualified applicants to continue the process for PUA benefits, including a different set of wage verifications and a different process for certification of wage benefits. The GDOL is partnering with other state agencies to assist with wage verification simplifying the process for PUA applicants.

If you have already filed a claim with the GDOL and will be eligible to potentially receive benefits under this program, you do NOT have to refile your claim.  These individuals will be identified and sent an email with a link to provide additional information for the PUA Program. Information on filing an unemployment claim, details on how employers must file partial claims, and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found on the agency’s webpage at


Some more changes at local grocers:

  • Aldi has added the plexiglass shields between the cashier and customer at the Rome location.
  • Publix in Rome now has one-way aisles. You’ll see that now-familiar blue tape indicating an arrow or an X at the top of the aisle. The x means don’t enter.

Rome Rotary is going to try a Zoom-based meeting next Thursday. 

“You can join the meeting from your iPhone, computer or by dialing in.  Information on how to join each week’s meeting will be sent out via email every Monday by Pete McDonald.  If you know members who are not checking their emails, please reach out to them and provide the phone number for dial-in.

That’s good timing as the schedules guests for April 16 at John Quinlivan from Redmond Regional, Kenna Stock from Harbin Clinic and Kurt Stuenkel from Floyd Medical Center.  “Each will give a short presentation on their perspective of the status of the Coronavirus in our area and how they are dealing with it as it relates” to their respective healthcare centers.

Lending a hand
Healthcare professionals, those helping to distribute meals to area students in need and other volunteers who are assisting with everything from helping establish the emergency homeless shelter off the Bypass and Ga. 293 are continuing to help in a time of need — and from a safe distance.
The best way to see and recognize those who are helping, donating and taking other steps is to review the Facebook pages of healthcare centers, area nonprofits and others.
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