Unemployed South Carolinians on Extended Benefits program to receive six additional weeks

Unemployed South Carolinians on Extended Benefits program to receive six additional weeks
$600 unemployment benefits to end this week (Source: Caroline Coleburn)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - There’s some relief for unemployed South Carolinians on the state’s Extended Benefits program.

While some parts of the economy are getting back on track, there are many people across South Carolina who are not able to get a job due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“And that’s what unemployment and some of these CARES Act programs afforded individuals to have. Just some relief. And obviously we hope that unemployment is something that is short term, but it appears that individuals have really had a need due to this pandemic,” said Jaime Subar with the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

The Extended Benefits program, for those who’ve already exhausted all the other state unemployment options, and gives those who are unemployed an extra 10 weeks of pay. But now, the state is eligible to offer an extra six weeks to those who need it.

“It’s tough times for those who are still unemployed,” Subar said.

He said while places are rehiring, it’s not the same as it was pre-pandemic.

The extension is allowed to be put in place because the unemployment rate has been above 8% for months.

However, it's the last time it can be extended because of how the state law is written.

And coming on the heels of the expiration of the extra $600 a week from the federal government, Subar said there is likely going to be a lot of people suddenly with less money.

“So if you’re weekly benefit amount is $200 and you’ve become accustomed to receiving $800, you are now going to be receiving $200 as you move forward with eligibility after July 25,” he said.

And while the extension of the Extended Benefits doesn’t allow for more money in each check, Subar said he knows this is how people have been getting by.

“Unemployment you know is how people have been keeping the lights on, get milk, get groceries, put gas in their vehicle,” he said.

Information on unemployment resources in South Carolina is available here.

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