SC legislators approve unemployment benefit cuts

COLUMBIA, SC (AP/WMBF) - South Carolina workers will have their maximum unemployment benefits slashed from 26 weeks to 20 under a measure headed to Gov. Nikki Haley's desk.

With a 93-11 vote Wednesday, the House approved cutting the benefits.

The change also means South Carolinians will lose up to 17 weeks of federal extended benefits. Combined benefits would fall from a maximum of 99 weeks to 77.

It's news upsetting to those already struggling during their search for work.

"I struggle from week to week to make ends' meat and now I'm at the point where I might lose my home," said Carol Anderson, a former nurse of 23 years.

Anderson was laid off about a year ago when her company was bought out by another. She says she doesn't know what people like herself will do once the bill is enacted.

The legislation also limits unemployment benefits for people in seasonal occupations.

That will affect workers here along the Grand Strand who are laid off after the summer season. Under the law the would not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

It also gives breaks to employers struggling to pay higher unemployment taxes as the state pays off federal jobless benefit loans.

Supporters including Haley have said the changes will help businesses and cut expenses in the unemployment system.

Buz Plyler, who owns The Gay Dolphin Gift Cove in Myrtle Beach says the bill would save lots of money for businesses like his.

"I do support the new bill and I would think that it's going to help the small entrepreneurial businesses that provide jobs in the coming summers," Plyler said.

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