Some Claimants Wait Four Weeks For Unemployment Benefits

Apr 23, 2020

Credit Josh Haiar / SDPB

It’s taking several weeks for some South Dakotans to obtain unemployment benefits. 

The state Department of Labor and Regulation reports about 75 percent of the people who file for unemployment get their benefits in a matter of days. 

But Department Secretary Marcia Hultman said it takes the other 25 percent of people four weeks or more. 

She said applications get slowed down when there are questions about whether a person quit, was fired or was laid off, or whether the job separation was related to COVID-19. Sometimes, she said, claimants fill out the application wrong. 

“And whenever we have an issue like that, it requires a human to touch that claim, to interact with it and to process it to keep it moving through the process,” Hultman said. 

About 5,000 South Dakotans filed for unemployment last week. It was the second week the numbers dropped after a record high number in early April. Since the pandemic began, about 28,000 people have filed for unemployment benefits in the state. 

And there could be another rush coming. The state just began taking claims from self-employed people, gig workers and independent contractors on Friday. In the past, those workers were ineligible. 

Across the country, there were 4.5 million unemployment claims filed last week. That  pushes total U.S. claims during the pandemic to more than 26 million.