SC DEW sees record unemployment claims, resources available online

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says they are taking thousands of phone calls per day.

The DEW says many questions they are receiving can be answered through various online resources.

The department’s YouTube channel has 12 step-by-step tutorials on how to make multiple claims, 1099G’s, separation notices and more.

The DEW receives repeated questions, including what to do if you’re self-employed, and are updating their FAQ page “constantly.”

The most recent information regarding how much money has already been paid to the state’s unemployed can be found here.

News 13 viewers reported experiencing glitches in the department’s website.

The DEW’s response read it part:

“The website is and always has been operational. As we’ve stated before there have been some accessibility issues with peak times. We have doubled our servers twice already. With 180,000 claims in a 3 week span and that’s not including the last claims week of April 5- April 11.”

– Heather Biance, Media Relations Specialist

Those unable to access the department’s website will have to call 1-866-831-1724 during business hours between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The department says they answered 56,000 phone calls between last Monday through Thursday.

The DEW has 200 customer care representatives answering calls – a 400% employee increase.

Cheryl Harrelson of Surfside Beach filed for unemployment on March 13 and still hasn’t received a check.

“All they can do is throw out that 400% and then they seem to think that if they pat you on the head and tell you they’ve hired 400% more employees that’s going to make you go away or ease your mind,” said Harrelson.

Harrelson became frustrated with the phone system, with no option to hold or leave a message.

She contacted Mark Hendricks, DEW Director of Governmental Affairs.

“I looked him up. I copied every news organization between Myrtle Beach and Colombia and I got a phone call this morning from a South Carolina unemployment [customer service representative],” said Harrelson.

The DEW employee said her claim was deactivated and advised her to re-certify every week in order to receive benefits.

“They’re waiving having to go “look for a job.” It doesn’t make any sense. But yet there’s a question on there, “did you look for work?” and you have to answer “yes.” That part has been waived, but you still have to go in there and get certified every week,” said Harrelson.

Harrelson is now expecting a check in a few days.

News 13 viewers have asked what the average amount of time is for approved claims to receive benefits. We are working to learn that and will keep you updated at wbtw.com.

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