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DOL taking unemployment insurance claims online

POSTED: April 30, 2012 8:12 p.m.

ATLANTA—State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said that the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is among 10 states that have launched a new electronic system designed to increase efficiency and reduce costs of operating the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) program.

The new system is called State Information Data Exchange (SIDES) E-Response. The system, available to all employers who choose to use it, enables them to respond promptly to the GDOL when a former employee files a UI claim with the agency against the employer.

"This new online capability is part of our continuing effort to make the Georgia Department of Labor more user-friendly and technologically up to date," Butler said. "This will significantly speed communications between the labor department and employers. At the same time, it will help prevent some overpayments to people who might not be eligible for benefits, saving us from having to go back and try to collect money from ineligible applicants."

Here’s how the system works: When a claimant files for UI benefits against an employer, the GDOL will immediately notify the employer via e-mail that a claim has been filed against the employer’s account. The employer may immediately respond to the claim to confirm that it’s valid or to contest it. "Lack of work," for example, would indicate a valid claim, while "fired for cause" would not. A secure online Web site enables the employer to go into significant detail about the reasons for separation in a format that increases efficiency and accuracy in determining eligibility.

Previously, all UI correspondence between the GDOL and the employer has been through the U.S. Postal Service. The employer has 10 days to respond. If the GDOL receives no response from the employer within the 10-day period, the claimant may be ruled "eligible" and a UI check may be issued. If the employer subsequently files a successful appeal of the initial decision, all benefit payments to the claimant must be repaid. The new system will prevent many such "overpayments."

A number of Georgia employers have already registered for the SIDES E-Response system. Others are encouraged to do so by logging onto the GDOL Web site at www.dol.state.ga.us and clicking on the "Employers" tab. A link to the "Employer Separation E-Response" registration can be found under the "Spotlight" section on this page.

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