WASHINGTON — Today, United States Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07) led a letter to Georgia Department of Labor (DOL) Commissioner Mark Butler expressing concern over the findings of an audit performed by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG audit uncovered Georgia’s inability to provide basic data on the processing and payments of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. The letter was also signed by Senator Jon Ossoff (GA), Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (GA), Congressman Sanford Bishop Jr. (GA-02), Congressman David Scott (GA-13), Congressman Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Congresswoman Lucy McBath (GA-06), and Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05).
Of the twelve states included in OIG’s audit of states’ implementation of three critical new UI programs from the CARES Act, the audit found that Georgia was the only state that was unable to provide the OIG with data regarding both the volume and timeliness of payments of UI claims. While an estimated 80,000 Georgians’ applications remain in limbo, the state’s data on claims is nowhere to be found.
“During the pandemic, many hardworking people across our state became unemployed through no fault of their own. In response, Congress provided enhanced UI benefits to support unemployed Americans and authorized significant support to improve state UI systems,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux. “We need to find out why the GDOL is unable to provide this critical information. Georgians deserve answers.”
“It is critical that the DOL have access to this data as it seeks to identify lessons learned from the past year and devise best practices for utilizing the assistance provided through the ARP to improve state unemployment insurance systems,” wrote the Members. “We therefore request that your office provide the relevant data to the Office of Inspector General as soon as possible or provide an explanation as to why the GDOL is unable to report relevant data.”
The Members also requested specific details on how the Georgia Department of Labor intends to use funding from the ARP intended to improve administration of unemployment insurance. As of May, the GDOL backlog was at around 80,000 Georgians.
Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux lives with her family in Suwanee, Georgia and represents Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the 117th Congress. Carolyn is a strong advocate for affordable health care, an economic recovery that puts workers and small businesses first, and investing in her district’s world-class public education system and transportation infrastructure.
Georgia’s fast-changing 7th Congressional District includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area, including portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties and cities Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Sugar Hill, Norcross, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Snellville, Lilburn, Suwanee, Grayson, and Buford.