‘It’s like they really don’t care’: South Carolinians frustrated over not receiving unemployment benefits

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Many South Carolinians are frustrated with the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce after not getting benefits from the Lost Wages Assistance federal program when expected.

LWA was approved September 1 and SCDEW announced it would take up to three weeks for claimants to receive their benefits.

It’s been three weeks and one viewer told News13 her patience was wearing thin.

“It’s like they really don’t care and I’m sick and tired of hearing how updates are posting. Well, the only update I saw last week was benefits coming soon,” the viewer explained. She asked to remain anonymous.

Over a thousand comments of worry and anger can be found under the agency’s Facebook update about LWA. The post explains how it’s working to hard to protect claimants from criminals trying to defraud the unemployment insurance program.

Once implemented, LWA will provide $300 a week for six weeks. This amount will added to claimants weekly benefits.

Officials with SCDEW said the agency is concerned about fraudulent activity, which is why a public announcement of when claimants will see benefits with the program hasn’t been made.

The agency told News13 claimants will soon be notified directly of when they are expected to see their benefits to avoid being scammed.

Heather Biance, media relations specialist with SCDEW, said other states who have started the program have been scammed at significant levels.

“We want to make sure these security measures are put in place,” Biance explained.

“We are working with these external vendors to make sure that happens because we want to make sure that when we enter into this last federal program that we are doing our due diligence to be good stewards and we’re trying to protect the good people of the state. This is taxpayer money that’s potentially at risk,” she said.

Additional login security measures will be implemented in order to access benefit information. Step-by-step videos will also be offered to help navigate the new safety measures.

Although the LWA program was approved for six weeks of benefits the program will end once it reaches it’s $25 million limit.

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