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'It is kinda hard to just wait': Central Georgians waiting on unemployment amid COVID-19 crisis

Some people, including one central Georgia mom, are still waiting for their money.

MACON, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Labor says they processed more than 100,000 unemployment benefit claims in one week last month. Some people, including one central Georgia mom, are still waiting for their money. 13WMAZ tried to figure out why some claims are taking so long.

"I was laid off due to COVID-19," Stephanie Collins said. 

Stephanie Collins says she was let go from Pharmacentra on March 13 due to the coronavirus. Like lots of Central Georgians, she is now waiting for relief from the state Department of Labor. 

"That process has been a mess -- the first time we got laid off, they told us to file a claim on our own," Collins said. 

Collins says she had trouble calling the Department of Labor to get instructions on how to claim her benefits.  

"The next day they sent a letter out saying they (Pharmacentra) were going to file a claim on our behalf which messed the system up because they thought we have two claims," Collins said. 

The State Department of Labor says right now individual returns are taking two to three weeks, while employer filed returns are taking up to 72 hours. The department says if you are furloughed, your company should file for you. That process can take longer if there is an error in your claim. A spokeswoman with the department says in March they processed more than 100,000 claims in one week. 

"So, I finally got (in touch with) another agent," Collins said. 

The labor department says local offices are closed while they work on processing unemployment benefits. For now, the department recommends people like Collins use their website to answer any questions about benefits.

"It is kinda horrible because I do have a child and I do have to provide and it is kinda hard to just wait, and the thing is, the amount is less than what I will be making, but I am still grateful I will be getting the amount," Collins said.

Collins is hoping to get her unemployment benefits starting this week. If you need to file an individual unemployment claim, you can follow this link. 

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FACTS NOT FEAR | At 13WMAZ, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the coronavirus. To see our full coverage, visit our site section here: www.13wmaz.com/Coronavirus.

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