After being denied three months worth of benefits beginning in October 2014 because of an honest mistake that I made when I failed to report 3 days of income while collecting benefits last July, I decided to request a telephone hearing. This was a total waste of time. You might as well be a criminal and a fraud in the Peach State if you make an honest mistake certifying for unemployment. Never mind that one week of unemployment is about what I make in 1 day of work. I do not mind paying the money back and even paying a penalty. That is only right. But deny me of $3,000 in benefits and bar me from collecting unemployment until January of 2016? Never mind that the employer misrepresented my actual start date and treated me like dirt. Remember, this is a “right to work” state! The employer is innocent until proven guilty and the employee is, well, guilty. I checked with my state senator’s office about what to do about what I felt was unfair. After all was said and done, I informed the Department of Labor that I wanted to escalate the process and requested a second hearing before a board of three individuals appointed by the governor. So what do I get in the way of correspondents from the Georgia Department of Labor? Another love letter saying that I have to explain to them why I certified for a week of benefits TWO YEARS AGO. After checking my records, I was able to confirm that I was not even collecting any money from this employer during the week in question. In fact the letter did not even have the correct week ending date listed. I have emails and timesheets that prove I did not work during the week in question. Do you think that will make a difference? Gee, do you think the Ovepayment Department is MAD because I have CHALLENGED their ruling TWICE? Sorry DOL but it is not my fault that, through your stupidity, you gave away “$58.7 million in overpayments October 1, 2008, and March 31, 2011” (Source: U.S. Department of Labor) of the employer’s and taxpayer’s money to true frauds in past years. Don’t put that albatross around my neck. Don’t harass me because I am exercising my right to appeal your rulings. Note that OTHER states have laws that actually PROTECT employees in situations where it can be proven within a reasonable doubt that the employee did not knowingly commit unemployment fraud. But not HERE in the Peach State. I was born and raised in Georgia, but this sort of thing makes me ashamed to say so.
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