According to federal guidelines, thousands of unemployed in the state are not receiving unemployment benefits in time. The state law created last year to tweak the schedule between unemployment claims and payments has moved South Carolina out of compliance with federal standards.
Employers wanted more time to issue their unemployment claim reports. The law passed in April gives them 12 business days to respond. Federal guidelines say states should pay 87 percent of their claims within 21 days. U.S. Department of Labor data shows, South Carolina was paying 69.3 percent of its claims within 21 days in September.
State Department of Employment and Workforce spokesperson Adrienne Fairwell says the agency is suggesting changing the law.
The issue is that employers now have 12 business days to respond to the Department of Employment and Workforce. We, here at DEW, would like for that to be changed to 10 calendar days. The General Assembly has to pass legislation that would allow us to do that.
Checks are being received more than three weeks after claims have been filed. U.S. Labor Department and state records indicate that for years, employers had seven days from the time a jobless benefit claim was filed to tell the state the circumstances under which a person’s employment was terminated.
Fairwell says as the agency waits for the General Assembly to make changes in the law, the department is suggesting alternative means for businesses to report claims.
DEW is now currently pursuing options to allow employers to send and receive this information electronically–hopefully, to hasten the response times and also to increase efficiency for employers, while lowering the cost by not having to spend money and time mailing in requests.
Fairwell says the department is communicating with members of the General Assembly in order to make the changes in the law necessary to move South Carolina back in compliance with federal guidelines.