Protestors gather outside outside the Department of Labor as federal benefits coming to an end

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor has been hit with a sweeping class action lawsuit that accuses of the organization of not getting unemployment money to needy families fast enough.

Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says this lawsuit is nothing more than a political statement. He says the case is without merit and the groups involved should be focusing on getting people back to work.

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Many Georgians say the delay in unemployment benefits cost them everything. Laid off from their jobs, Eugene Mitchell and Rhonda Miller were hoping to use unemployment money to help pay their rent.

They applied on February 13. Mitchell just got his first check more than four months later on June 18. They are still waiting on Miller’s check.

The couple is now homeless after losing their house from not being able to pay their rent.

“We were trying to avoid getting evicted, but that didn’t come through,” they told Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston.

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Cases like this are one reason the Southern Poverty Law Center hit the Georgia Department of Labor with a class action lawsuit.

Mitchell and Miller say they call the unemployment line every day to see about her unemployment, but can’t get through.

“We went to the Career Center and it has a sign on it saying it is closed,” they said.

Commissioner Butler sent Channel 2 Action News a statement that reads,

“We expect to prove that this suit does not have merit. These groups believe that unemployment insurance should be paid to everyone. And the Southern Poverty Law Center should be concerned about getting people back to work.”

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The class action lawsuit is being brought by four people. One of them has been waiting a year for an appeals case.

The Department of Labor says there are thousands of jobs that people can apply for to help them make ends meet.