One factor chopping seven weeks from the benefits is a change in state law shrinking the state's base payment period to 14-20 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate. The current rate sets the period at 19 weeks, a decline from 26 weeks.
The rate's improvement over the last three months triggered the second factor that trimmed another six weeks from the federal period of emergency benefits. That means that new applicants not only have a shortened base period but also the federal benefit.
Congress granted the emergency benefits to states in 2008 as long as their unemployment rate was 9 percent or higher for three months. Georgia's dropped below that level in May, and it has remained at 8.9 percent since. That federal extension is due to expire nationally in December.
The jobless who are already getting a benefit will continue drawing a check for the period in effect when they qualified. That means someone who qualified for the initial, base period of 26 weeks will continue receiving payments that whole time, unless getting hired. It also means someone already collecting the six-week, federal extension will continue getting the whole amount if not in a job first.
The Labor Department could provide no estimate of how many people would be effected by the two changes.