Friday, July 25 2014 9:23 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:23:15 GMT
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State officials in South Carolina say they're streamlining unemployment offices. Residents in Chester are upset that the office in their community will see some changes.
"It's kind of like taking away from people" says Bryant Thorpe, who has been unemployed since December and stopped in to the 'SC Works' office in Chester to do some job searching.
Officials with the Department of Employment and Workforce say the major change coming to the office starting February 15th is residents will not be able to file unemployment insurance claims services with a person. Anyone who needs unemployment insurance help from staff will have to drive to the nearest office in Lancaster.
"I file my claims usually by phone or computer" says Thorpe. "It makes it difficult if you have questions to ask."
The office will still be open for re-employment services . Staff will be available for resume writing, job interviewing tips, and computer usage training. And the resource center will be open for people who need to use the computers.
State officials are urging people to file claims by phone or online.
"Everybody is not computer literate" says Chester County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey. "I mean they don't know how to do that. All they want to know how to do is face up with somebody."
Supervisor Roddey says the changes "will hurt people who can least afford that drive - if they have to drive - to Lancaster."
Chester has been dealing with high unemployment. Of the changes that are coming to the unemployment office Roddey says "what I don't like about it - they just dropped the bomb. They didn't give any warning."
A spokesperson for the Department of Employment and Training says changes will happen in 17 offices with "low volume" foot traffic.