Horry County leads SC in unemployment claims as state is inundated with phone calls

Coronavirus

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Horry County leads South Carolina with more than 10,000 unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes as the state says it’s given out about $18.5 million in unemployment benefits. Officials for the state Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) say they’ve seen an unprecedented volume of unemployment claims because of the pandemic.

Considering how many people are filing and calling, this can be a very frustrating time.

“Out of that $18 million, I can tell you that I know 25 people that haven’t received a dime, if not more,” said Melissia Hayes, who lives in Longs. “I can probably tell you more.”

Hayes works at Which Wich Superior Sandwiches in North Myrtle Beach. She says she’s been trying to get unemployment benefits for about three weeks as her hours got reduced.

She says the restaurant completely closed Wednesday.

“Everybody’s just wondering, ‘Is our power going to get cut off?'” she said. “Our internet, cable, that kind of stuff. Are our landlords going to get mad at us?”

Hayes hasn’t been able to file, as more than 180,000 South Carolinians have lost their jobs in the last three weeks because of coronavirus closures. Claims in our South Carolina counties have skyrocketed over the last few weeks.

Here’s a list of how much each county’s unemployment claims have risen from the week of Mar. 21 to the week of Apr. 4:

  • Chesterfield County – 898%
  • Darlington County – 343%
  • Dillon County – 270%
  • Florence County – 205%
  • Georgetown County – 215%
  • Horry County – 92%
  • Marion County – 185%
  • Marlboro County – 382%

The DEW says it increased call center staff by 400 percent.

“I think on average, over the past two to three weeks, I think we’ve been taking 10,000 or more calls a day, so you can only imagine the volume coming into the contact center,” said Jamie Suber, who’s the chief administrative officer for the DEW.

Hayes, who says she and her fiancé already suffer from respiratory issues, hopes her financial fears get resolved during such a scary time.

“It just doesn’t make any sense to me,” she said. “Everybody’s getting cards. Everybody’s setting up pin numbers. Start sending it out. You’re not going to overpay anybody. We’re not working.”

You can find all of the information to apply for unemployment online at dew.sc.gov.

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