Unemployment claims up 400% in SC as workforce braces for coronavirus crisis


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) – Unemployment claims are skyrocketing in South Carolina as concerns grow about the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials say.

The Department of Employment and Workforce cites a 400 percent increase in the number of claims last week over the week prior.

“We’ve never experienced anything like this,” Chief Administrative Officer Jamie Suber told News13 in a phone interview. “We’re really learning as we go.”

The agency has rolled out a number of special provisions in response to COVID-19.

In an executive order from Governor Henry McMaster, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce able to waive the one-week waiting period for those who qualify for assistance. This should allow people to get help quicker.

The wait is also waived for those who file for Unemployment Insurance through April 18 due to COVID-19.

SC DEW has also waived a weekly work search requirement for recipients under the same circumstances.

Additionally, the deadline for employers to pay first-quarter contributions has been extended from April 30, 2020, to June 1, 2020. Employers still need to submit wage reports before April 30, though.

“We’ve done a great job over the past few years with building our trust funds to ensure we have adequate balances,” Suber said. “I think we’re prepared from a staffing and structure standpoint.”

Courtesy: South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce

Although eligibility for unemployment insurance is handled case-by-case, SC DEW issued an info-gram about instances where people may or may not be eligible for help.

It includes cases like temporary lay-offs and business closures due to the coronavirus.

People impacted are encouraged to apply for assistance to see if they qualify to get help.

You can head here to file a claim.

The agency has also set up a site where you can stay up to date on changes because of COVID-19. You can view that here.

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