Jobless benefits for 2,000 Grand Strand residents, 29,000 statewide to end

About 2,000 unemployed residents along the Grand Strand are set to lose some jobless benefits at the end of the year as a federal program expires.

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, a temporary effort created in 2008 to help those who have exhausted regular state benefits, expires next month. About 1,701 Horry County residents and 403 Georgetown County residents will be affected, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

The state Department of Employment and Workforce sent a reminder Tuesday that payments to the 29,221 S.C. residents in the federal program will stop by Jan. 3. The agency says that means the loss of $6.2 million weekly.

Anyone filing for unemployment insurance after Dec. 29 will be eligible only for the maximum under state law of 20 weeks of benefits paid by employers.

Unemployed South Carolinians had qualified for up to 78 weeks of payments thanks to two different federally paid extensions. One of those expired in April. A law passed by Congress in February phased out the other.

Congress initially approved those 42 weeks of emergency benefits in 2008.