A third and final round of federal unemployment funding became available in South Carolina on Wednesday as the state recorded its sixth decrease in initial unemployment claims.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation provides 13 additional weeks of benefits after the 20-week period allowed in S.C. has expired. Application instructions are available on the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce’s website.
Individuals can log in and click “apply for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation” or “file a new unemployment insurance claim,” then complete eligibility questions, according to a news release from DEW.
“I think we can all agree that the ideal scenario would be for South Carolinians to have a viable work opportunity, have the personal resources such as child care, health and safety needed to support that opportunity, and be able to accept the work in order to re-establish the stability of their employment income,” Dan Ellzey, DEW executive director, said in the release. “In many cases this will be true. However, as employers and workers adapt to changes and challenges presented with COVID-19, there will be some individuals who will need this extension of benefits until they are ready to rejoin the workforce.”
For the week ending May 23, 24,950 people filed unemployment claims, a decrease of 4,496 from the previous week, DEW said. In the last 10 weeks, 540,545 claims have been filed in the state, and the agency has paid more than $1.5 billion in a combination of state and federal benefits.
DEW said its call center staff is answering more than 80,000 phone calls each week.
For the week ending May 23, Greenville County saw 2,559 claims filed, while Richland County had 2,166. Spartanburg County had 1,893, Horry County 1,847 and Charleston County 1,837. Anderson and Lexington counties each saw 1,052 claims filed.