South Carolina OKs More Than $4 Million In Claims For Self-Employed Over Weekend
South Carolina has approved more than $4 million in unemployment claims since its new program began on Friday for some workers who were not previously eligible for unemployment, like the self-employed and contract workers.
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says it’s given out at least $4.6 million in aid to self-employed workers, gig workers and independent contractors. Those claims are through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, or PUA, which gives $60 a week to claimants. Individual states have to administer the PUA program, and South Carolina launched its administrative portal for the program on Friday.
The department acknowledges that high call volumes are preventing people from getting through to employees. It’s now extended call center hours and says it’s continuing to add staff each week.
Officials also released a chart comparing the state’s rate of unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic to the worst week of the 2008-2009 recession. The department received 87,686 claims during the first week of April. That compares with a peak of 13,848 claims in April 2009, a more than six-fold increase.
Overall, South Carolina has given more than $378 million in unemployment benefits in the last five weeks alone.