Democrats slam cuts set for SC unemployment help

By SEANNA ADCOXAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Democratic legislators are calling the removal of in-person unemployment help from 17 offices an attack on rural South Carolina.

Lawmakers made the accusations Tuesday, a day after the Department of Employment and Workforce announced plans to reduce its offices for unemployment services from 56 to 39. The face-to-face help ends at those 17 offices Feb. 15. The jobless can go online for all services, including filing for initial and weekly claims.

All 17 are in rural areas. The unemployment agency attributes the consolidation to a reduction of federal money that funds its operations. Spokeswoman Adrienne Fairwell says the decisions were based on foot-traffic statistics.

But House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford says services are ending in the most vulnerable counties, where residents have the most trouble with transportation and computers.

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