COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS/NBC News) – It has been almost three weeks since Congress passed the Federal Coronavirus Relief Act, and South Carolinians who’ve filed for unemployment are beginning to see some of those benefits.
A big part of the act gives those who qualify for unemployment an extra $600 a week.
The State Department of Employment and Workforce says it paid out $53 million in federal stimulus money on Sunday, but it can take up to 72 hours to see that money in your bank account.
South Carolina is actually one of the first ten states in the country to roll out this part of the Cares Act.
The maximum amount of unemployment benefits you can receive a week in South Carolina is $326, but with this extra $600, you could receive up to $926 a week.
Some South Carolinians who are out of work, like Kyle Miller, say this extra money will help them pay their bills and put food on their tables.
But they’re still waiting on their claims to be processed and payment to be received.
“In three weeks, you would think you would get something. I tried to call the phone system several times. It just drags you back to the same system I’ve already filled out,” said Miller. “We have bills coming up that we’ve been putting off because we can’t afford it, but the definite $289 plus the $600 would keep us afloat until this all blows over.”
“Individuals across the state are trying to find that bridge, desperate individuals that are truly in need and I’m glad we could make that $600 available and we started paying as of yesterday, so exciting times but again a lot of work to be done,” said Jamie Suber, director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.
This is the first of three federal temporary programs DEW says it will be implementing.
Right now, DEW is working to set up the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which will help self-employed workers, gig workers and contractors, as well as those who were found ineligible for regular unemployment.
DEW says that program should be in place in the next two weeks, but in the meantime, they’re encouraging these workers to fill out the regular unemployment claim.
They say you will likely be denied, but once that program is in place, they will reach out to you to provide you next steps.