ATLANTA (AP) -- Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a law that will reduce the number of weeks people would be able to collect unemployment benefits.
Beginning July 1, unemployment benefits will be reduced from 26 weeks to a sliding scale of between 14 and 20 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate. Supporters said the change was necessary because Georgia must pay back more than $760 million borrowed in recent years to cover unemployment benefits after the state's unemployment insurance trust fund was depleted during the recession.
At issue was how to pay that debt and replenish the unemployment insurance trust fund. Opponents blasted the plan, which slashes the number of weeks of benefits nearly in half, as harmful to the unemployed. The state's unemployment rate remains above the national average.