Phone trouble at SC Employment Security Commission - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Phone trouble at SC Employment Security Commission

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - At the South Carolina Employment Security Commission, so many people are calling for information on unemployment benefits that they are overloading the lines at the state employment office.

Clark Newsom with the Employment Security Commission told WIS that when 2,700 callers in at one time, the system automatically shuts down. Newsom said they were not aware that would happen.

The extra load can be attributed to the federal government approving an extra 13 weeks of
unemployment benefits for qualified people, he said.

Asaad Daniels is worried that he might not get a check because of the whole situation.

"I'm still trying to find something I can get into to help pay my tuition at school," Daniel said.

Daniels is one of dozens of people who came to the job center in Columbia to file for unemployemnt checks because the phone system went down.

Lauren Hebert was also affected by the incident.

"It kept saying the number is not working -- try calling later," Hebert said.

Employment Security Commission Director Ted Halley says the overload stemmed from Congress recently approving a program to let people extend unemployment benefits for 13 more weeks.

"Because of extended benefits, this has increased the volume tremendously," Halley said.

The system is fixed, but calls are so backlogged the line is often busy.

People like Daniels who went to the job center can expect checks Wednesday.

Newsom says their IT department is working with the phone carrier to try and get some extra lines installed.

The number is 1-866-831-1724. Newsom says if you call and can't get through, wait a few minutes and try again.

Reported by Jennifer Wilson

Posted by Bryce Mursch

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