Changes to South Carolina unemployment offices take effect Monday

Photo Source: MGN Online
Photo Source: MGN Online

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina's unemployment agency is laying off 100 employees in June, as part of a statewide reorganization that directs anyone seeking jobless benefits to file claims online, or by phone.

The move will eliminate one-on-one help with claims by Monday, June 10, and because of this, some county offices will close, though no exact numbers on those affected have been released.

In-person Unemployment Insurance services must now be completed online using the Department of Employment and Workforce's MyBenefits portal, available here:

Those seeking assistance can speak to claims representatives by calling toll-free: 1-866-831-1724 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Free computer and internet access to file claims is offered at SC Works centers or Connection Point centers, listed here:

Judy Brown has been unemployed for two years now, and she thinks the move by the state is a wise one, "I think it's good," she says. "People have to travel here and it would cut back on the cost they could do everything from home."

Like Brown, Akira White is also unemployed and already filing online, instead of choosing to receive services at the office. "It's easier to do it online than to come here," adds White who has been jobless since birthing her son nine months ago.

According to leaders with the unemployment agency, the move to change services is to meant bring South Carolina in-line technologically with other states, and because of a loss of federal funding.

Laine Clark moved home to South Carolina from Baltimore, Maryland  to be back near his family a year ago, and has been without work ever since. 

Clark thinks the move is ill-advised and one that will hurt the older population looking for work.

"I usually come here at least once a week just to show my face and see their face and see someone's actually doing something to try to help," Clark said. "You can go online all you want but all you're doing is looking at a computer. You don't have that face to face interaction with someone else."

The agency expects to cut 53 additional jobs between June and December, unless Congress extends federally-paid benefits.

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