Coronavirus leads to sharp increase for unemployment benefits in SC, GA

This map shows initial unemployment claims in South Carolina for the week ending March 21, 2020.
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Thursday, March 26, 2020

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Requests for unemployment benefits have skyrocketed to never-before-seen levels in Georgia and South Carolina amid the coronavirus crisis that has shuttered many businesses.

For the week of March 15-21, Georgia processed 12,140 initial claims, up 6,695 from the previous week’s total of 5,445. In the first week of March, the agency saw 59,000 users on its website and on Wednesday reported 110,000 in one day.

Georgia tackled the crisis with these new emergency rules for unemployment benefits:

• The length of time an individual can collect benefits was extended from 14 weeks to 26 weeks.
• The first $300 earned in a week will not count against eligible unemployment benefits paid. For example, if a laid-off person takes a part-time job, they can now make up to $300 a week and still receive their full unemployment amount.

Meanwhile in South Carolina, the number of residents applying for unemployment benefits in the state totaled 31,054, an increase of about 1,600% from the previous week’s count of 1,996. Claims for South Carolina residents who filed for unemployment in another state totaled 772 for the week, an increase of about 800%.

How to get help

Due to the coronavirus, many residents are temporarily out of work.

In South Carolina, state residents without a job can apply for benefits using the Department of Employment and Workforce's website

In Georgia, you can also receive more information from the Department of Labor.

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