Last year's unemployment benefits overhaul law has caused thousands of people to wait longer to get benefit checks and put South Carolina out of compliance with federal standards.
"We're missing the deadline," said John Finan, director of the South Carolina Department of Employment Workforce.
Nearly a third of South Carolina's checks are received more than three weeks after the filing of the claim, which fails a federal standard for timely payments, U.S. Department of Labor and state records show.
For years, employers had seven days from the time a jobless benefit claim was filed to tell the state the circumstances under which a job was lost. Employers wanted more time, and the law passed in April gives them 12 business days to respond.
"That is giving them more time, but, unfortunately, because of business days, that can sometimes stretch into two or three weeks that the claimant is waiting for a response," said Erica Von Nessen, the agency's deputy director for South Carolina's unemployment program. "And so you are starting to get checks coming out four or five weeks after they filed their initial claim," she added, and that sparks complaints about late checks.