Possible changes coming to unemployment benefits (Update: drug testing a possibility)

photo by flickr user clementine gallot

Update, 2/3/12:  This week three proposed changes to SC unemployment benefit eligibility were sent to the SC Senate, two were sent back.

The two that were sent back to subcommittee mandated drug testing for those receiving benefits and another that required 16 hours of volunteer time per month.  The one that got through for review, however, directly impacts the Grand Strand.  It stops benefits fro those who lost employment that was seasonal.

The discussion on limiting or yanking benefits from those being dismissed from a job due to poor behavior or work performance was delayed. 

You can see the full write-up and video, including local reaction, in this WPDE report.

First report, 1/13/12:  This week has shed light on possible changes coming to unemployment benefits that would lessen the number of weeks one could collect income.

According to this WPDE report, the number of weeks an individual can collect a benefit may be reduced if he or she was let go from a job due to poor performance, attitude, or attendance.  Changes may also require recipients to accept a job at a lower pay rate than their previous employment.

Another initiative may require those receiving unemployment benefits to volunteer if they are unable to find a suitable job within six months.  As discussed in this WBMF report, some of those volunteers could end up in public service, including the schools if their skill set is a good match and they pass the required security measures. 

Sound off.  How do you feel about these proposed changes?  It's easy, if you're not one of those who has experienced prolonged unemployment, to preach the need to pull in the reigns on handing out checks.  But if you are someone who receives benefits and has been diligent in finding a new job, how do you feel about being required to accept a position paying less or to volunteer? 

Check out our unemployment topic page for more stories regarding the state of jobless in South Carolina.

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