DEW ending unemployment services at 17 offices

People who want in-person help with their unemployment benefits may have a longer drive starting February 19.

The Department of Employment and Workforce is reducing unemployment services at 17 offices.

That means you will only be able to file weekly unemployment claims, for example, online or on the phone, unless you'd like to drive to the nearest office that still offers in-person claims. For example, those now getting services in Allendale must instead go to Barnwell.

The offices won't close.

SC Works career centers will remain at the locations, according to spokeswoman Adrienne Fairwell.

The agency says a loss of federal funds led to the change. The agency laid off 55 people last October. An additional 75 jobs have been cut.

The agency says affected clients have been notified by mail.

Online services at include:

· File initial and weekly unemployment claims

· Change contact information

· Change tax withholding information

· Retrieve 1099 information

· Check benefits status

· Change payment method

Claimants can also file weekly claims by phone through DEW's TelClaim system at 1.866.831.1724.

On the Pee Dee and the Grand Strand, six offices will be affected. Claimants who use the Kingstree office will now be asked to go to Florence. Chesterfield claimants will be asked to use the Bennettsville office. Those who use the Dillon office will instead be served in Marion.