Some South Carolinians still waiting for unemployment benefits during coronavirus pandemic

Some South Carolinians still waiting for unemployment benefits during coronavirus pandemic
Some South Carolinians still waiting for unemployment benefits during coronavirus pandemic (Source: Miranda Parnell)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians have filed for unemployment due to COVID-19, some are still waiting for the cash to come in. One man who has been waiting for two months, but says he hasn’t seen a dime.

"The took the claim, but they never sent me nothing," John Genereux said.

Genereux was a mechanic for a Richland County towing business until the pandemic hit and his company had to start issuing layoffs.

He says he filed for unemployment on March 20 but hasn’t seen any money.

"All it said was unemployment was pending, that was it," he said. "They didn't say when they were going to do anything for me or nothing. I don't want to say they don't care about people, but it's messed up."

Genereux is hoping to get any benefits, but also what he's already filed for.

In April, Governor Henry McMaster addressed the question of making sure taxpayers are getting the full amount that they’re owed since originally filing.

"We think we have a handle on it now, but we're still bringing in more people," he said. "I'd ask people just to have patience. Anything that they are entitled to under the law will be given to them, and it'll be retroactive from the very beginning."

So what does that mean? A statement we received from SCDEW today said,

For each week someone is found eligible to receive benefits, they will receive payments retroactively. Please note: Federal FPUC funding will be retroactive for claim week ending April 4 (March 29- April 4, 2020). For example, if they certified for claim week ending 3/21 or 3/28, they would receive a weekly benefit amount only, as the FPUC program doesn’t cover these weeks. If they certified for claim week ending 4/4 and 4/11, they would receive the weekly benefit amount and the $600 FPUC funding. Also remember the FPUC program has been approved through the CARES Act through the week ending July 25, 2020. After this date, they will no longer receive these funds, however, they will continue to receive weekly benefit amounts if found eligible for that week"

For Genereux, it took a while, but he finally saw some progress today.

"After I talked to you they called me," Genereux said. "They're going to go back to when I first opened the claim, and give me that, plus the $600 for COVID-19," he said. " My wife contacted y'all this morning, and y'all got me what I needed."

We asked SCDEW what the hold up was on Mr. Genereux’s claim. They told us he’d used up his unemployment benefits in August of last year. But because this separation was caused by COVID-19, he was eligible through the federal program, and his claim is now being processed. They say he should have a payment notice in his portal tomorrow.

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