South Carolina residents received more than $1.2 million in unemployment benefits related to the Oct. 4 flood.
But less than 35 percent of the thousands of residents who applied for those benefits received payment, according to the state Department of Employment and Workforce.
Nearly 6,100 people applied for flood-related unemployment after the flooding that damaged roads, homes and businesses, according to Bob Bouyea, the agency’s communications and marketing director.
Of those, just more than 2,100 received benefits, with an average of about $590 per recipient overall, he said.
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Bouyea said most applicants sought a week or two of benefits, though some applied for three weeks or more.
Many Midlands residents were unable to work for days after the storm because of businesses and roads closed by flooding. Some businesses, homes and roads are still on the mend in hard-hit Richland County, which submitted far more claims than any other area in the state.
Of more than 2,000 claims from Richland County, nearly 700 were approved, according to DEW data. Williamsburg County’s 834 claims were the second most, with 331 approved.
In Lexington County, 128 of the 465 claims were approved. Sumter, Florence, Georgetown, Clarendon, Berkeley, Charleston, Kershaw, Dorchester and Orangeburg counties – areas all in the path of the storm – each submitted more than 100 claims.
Business owners, the self-employed and regular employees were eligible for flood-related unemployment benefits, though they had to show their lost wages were a direct result of the disaster, Bouyea said.
Bouyea said some applicants were ineligible because they had separated from their jobs before the flood or because their employers had scheduled a break or shutdown before the flood.
“We wanted to make certain that it got into the hands of the people who really needed it and who were affected by the flood,” he said.