Governor Kristi Noem said the state is adding more staff and phone lines to its unemployment call center because of increased claims resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Noem said Monday that the call center typically operates with 11 people, but the state has added 16 more workers. The center has 92 phone lines and will add 23 more, she said.
“Many of the claimants that we’re seeing are first-time users of the system, they’re unfamiliar with the process,” Noem said, “but know that we are working to get as many lines up and going and getting more staff online to respond to the unemployment requests that we are getting.”
On Thursday, the state is scheduled to release its first set of unemployment claim numbers since the pandemic hit South Dakota.
People who’ve lost work as a result of the pandemic may be eligible for benefits of up to $414 per week for 26 weeks.
To limit phone wait times, claimants are urged to file online at raclaims.sd.gov. Those without internet access may call (605) 626-3212. The physical locations of Jobs Centers, where claimants could typically get help filing claims, are closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.