Lt. Governor André Bauer is asking state leaders to join him in calling the General Assembly into special session to fix a problem he says is stopping South Carolina from drawing down free federal dollars that would extend 20 additional weeks of unemployment checks to thousands of jobless workers.
Bauer says more than 100,000 South Carolinians have exhausted their unemployment benefits.
Bauer seeks the special session so the Legislature can swiftly amend the extended benefits statute to make technical changes to an economic index that triggers additional emergency checks.
Bauer says because legislative action has not been taken, five months of unemployment checks will be denied to thousands of out-of-work resident.
The South Carolina Employment Security Commission announced that the state’s Extended Benefits program will end Saturday.
ESC Deputy Director Jimmy Jones explains that there is a 26-week regular state program, then a 20-week federal program, then another 13 week-federal program. If a worker exhausts all of those programs and they qualify they move into the state extended benefits program.
South Carolina has an 11.5% unemployment rate, one of the worst in the country.