MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Department of Employment and Workforce has paid out $585 million in various forms of unemployment so far.
While that certainly is a lot, there are plenty of people that are still checking the website, calling and waiting for their first unemployment check.
“For the second week in a row, we’ve seen a significant decline in the number of unemployment insurance claims coming into the unemployment insurance program, although these signs are favorable and we might be trending in the right direction, our hearts still go out to those in need,” said Department of Employment and Workforce Chief of Staff Jamie Suber.
The Department of Employment and Workforce saw 8,000 less initial unemployment claims filed last week than the week before.
While there are fewer people newly applying for unemployment, there are still those that have been applying for six weeks and haven’t seen a single penny.
People like self-employed Pier 14 house musician Travis Proctor.
“Have been given an amount that would be my benefit, but it’s being held pending more information,” said Proctor.
When Proctor goes to enter more information, the links don’t work and nothing tells him what to enter.
Naturally, Proctor has tried to call to get help.
“Every time you try, it’s futile," said Proctor. "You can’t get a human on the phone. I’ve tried many times.”
Proctor isn’t alone in that regard, WMBF News spoke to a man named Rick who said he’s spent 18 hours on hold this week alone.
Finally, he got through Thursday morning.
“It was at the three-hour mark she picked up and I was on the phone with her for 15-20 minutes," said Rick. "She was able to take care of everything, she was able to see what the problem was. It wasn’t on my end. It was on their end. She said I’ll be seeing an email in the next 24 hours with a determination.”
The Department of Employment and Workforce has decided to increase its efforts to try and limit those hold times.
“Six weeks ago, I think we were around 50 dedicated customer service reps," said Suber. "Now we are well over 400 in regards to try to help serve individuals that are in need.”
The Department of Employment and Workforce has also extended its hours of operation to 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. to try to answer more calls.