September 19, 2014

In SC, unemployed can use new iPhone app to claim benefits

South Carolina’s unemployment agency has launched a new app that allows residents to seek jobless benefits through their iPhones.

The state Department of Employment and Workforce unveiled the free iClaim app on Wednesday. The program allows claimants who have already applied for benefits to file subsequent weekly claims via their iPhone iOS7 or higher. The agency hopes to create a similar option for Android customers later this year.

Agency spokeswoman Adrienne Fairwell said the app is meant to help the 70 percent of South Carolina residents who receive unemployment benefits and use mobile devices to access the internet at least once per day. She did not know how many of those residents own iPhones, however.

Fairwell said it is the first such app for smartphones in the country. “There are other states that are trying to do this as we speak,” she said during a conference call with reporters. “But we’re the first to make this happen.”

Last year, SCDEW began requiring unemployed South Carolinians to apply for continued benefits each week either online or by phone. In-person help with unemployment claims ended last June.

Agency executive director Cheryl Stanton said it will also help the agency clamp down on fraud by recipients.

SCDEW said Oregon-based Radha Consulting was previously awarded a contract to develop the app.