File a New Unemployment Insurance Claim

New unemployment insurance claims can be filed with the Georgia Department of Labor.

Georgians filing unemployment insurance (UI) claims with the Georgia Department of Labor must meet certain criteria.

Individuals may file a claim for unemployment benefits online with the Georgia Department of Labor and must meet certain criteria. After applying, individuals must request payments weekly to be paid unemployment benefits for weeks they are determined to meet eligibility requirements.

How Do I … File a New Unemployment Claim?

  • Make Sure You're Eligible

    To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, you must meet all of the following criteria:

    • You must have earned enough during the qualifying period (known as the “base period”).
    • You must have separated from your last employer through no fault of your own. (Learn more about what this means starting on page 7 of the Georgia Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook).
    • You must be able to prove that you are a United States (U.S.) citizen and if not, you are authorized to work in the U.S.
    • You must be actively searching for suitable work. (Learn more about what this means starting on page 9 of the Georgia Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook).
  • Get Prepared

    Register for employment services at or with the State Workforce Agency, unless exempt by law.

  • Gather What You'll Need

    • Your Social Security number
    • Alien number and expiration date, for non-citizens
    • Unexpired government-issued picture identification
    • Employer-issued separation notice or letter, if available
    • Work history for the last 18 months. This includes names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of employment, rate of pay, total earnings, and information about your job separation from each employer.
    • Personal banking account and routing number for direct deposit
    • SF-50 or SF-8 form and pay stubs, if you were a federal employee at any time in  the last 18 months.
    • Most recent DD-214, orders to report or of release, military earnings/leave statement, or W-2 form(s), if you are former military personnel
    • A copy of your most recently filed income tax return or quarterly estimated income tax payment record(s), if applying for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) and you are self-employed or a farmer
  • Submit Your Application

    You can file an unemployment insurance claim online.

    • Apply online
      • Create an email account, if you do not already have one. You will be asked for a valid email address when completing the unemployment claim online to receive some correspondence. 
      • Your internet browser must meet certain technical criteria. JavaScript must be enabled and pop-up blockers should be set to allow pop-ups. The process contains PDFs that may need to be printed and Adobe Acrobat Reader will be required. A free software download is available from the Adobe website.
      • Visit the Georgia Department of Labor website and select Apply for Unemployment Benefits. 
      • You will use your personal information to create a PIN. Save this PIN, as you will need it to log in, access your information, and request weekly benefit payments. (Should you need to reset your PIN, you can do so on the Department of Labor website.)
      • Once you establish a PIN, you will be prompted to submit personal information, fill out your detailed work history, and confirm legal residency.
      • The application process should take around 30 minutes.
  • Next Steps

    • After you apply, the Georgia Department of Labor will review and process your application. You may be contacted if the GDOL needs additional information from you. Be sure to respond promptly. If you don’t reply by the deadline, your benefits could be delayed or denied.
    • You must request your benefit payments and certify your eligibility weekly. You'll also have to submit your work search for each week of benefits claimed, unless exempt by law. You may claim benefits online or use the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone system. You can begin claiming weekly benefits before you receive your approval for unemployment insurance benefits. However, these weekly benefits will not be paid out until you have been approved to receive benefits. 
    • You should receive an Unemployment Insurance Benefit Determination in the mail. This will detail whether you have enough insured wages to establish a claim. It does not mean you are approved to receive benefits.
    • A notice of claim filing and request for separation information will be sent to your most recent employer.
    • Your claim will be reviewed for eligibility based on the reason for separation from your most recent employer and your ability and availability for work.
    • A Claims Examiner’s Determination will be mailed to you informing you whether your benefits are allowed or denied. If benefits are allowed, payments should be released within 24 to 48 hours of the determination being mailed to you.
    • You must inform the Georgia Department of Labor once you return to work or refuse a job.
    • If your claim is denied, you may appeal the decision. It is important that you continue to claim weekly benefits while your appeal is pending review. More information about appeals is available on the Georgia Department of Labor website.

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