The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce has paid out $67.5 million in unemployment benefits since the week ending March 21 and has paid out $105.1 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds.
The CARE funds paid out are from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which provides an additional $600 a week to eligible claimants through July 31, according to a news release from DEW. The agency anticipates being able to accept applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which covers freelancers, independent contractors and gig economy workers not previously eligible for unemployment benefits, by the week ending April 25.
DEW does not yet have an expected date to begin accepting applications for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides up to 13 weeks of benefits to those who have exhausted standard 20-week unemployment benefits. The agency said the program will “be rolled out in the coming weeks.”
Staff at DEW’s call center assisted 62,000 people within a five-day period on April 10 and from April 13 to April 16, according to the release. More than 2,000 people called in to a virtual meeting for the self-employed held April 17. That meeting is available online.
More than 87,600 people filed for unemployment in South Carolina for the week ending April 11. DEW said last week that 87,686 people filed claims in that week, up 3.14% from the 85,018 filings in the previous week.
The agency has processed 268,614 claims in the four weeks since the COVID-19 pandemic began affecting state workers in large numbers. Since the week ending March 14, when 1,996 initial claims were filed, claims have increased 4,293.09%, DEW said.p