Rep. Jim Clyburn and Sen. Lindsey Graham answer questions about federal stimulus


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- It’s a scary and confusing time financially for many people. Wednesday evening, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn and Sen. Lindsey Graham answered questions about the federal stimulus bill, including relief checks and navigating the unemployment system, at a tele-town hall hosted by South Carolina AARP. People were able to call in with their questions, and the entire conversation was streamed online.

“$2.2 trillion dollars is in this bill,” Sen. Graham said. “It’s the largest expenditure in the history of the nation. It’s larger than the New Deal.”

That federal stimulus bill will give everyone making less than $75,000 a year a relief check. That includes those on social security and disability.

Rep. Clyburn said those government beneficiaries who haven’t filed a tax return in recent years will still receive that money as a supplement to the checks they normally get. They can also fill out an abbreviated tax return to get that money faster.

“The best thing to do is what Congressman Clyburn said was fill out one of these short forms and that will speed up your check,” Sen. Graham said.

A lot of people calling in had questions about whether they qualify for unemployment. Now, the government is giving more unemployment money for longer and to more people.

“Those who are self employed individuals, independent contractors, gig economy employees, and individuals who are unable to start a new job or contract due to the pandemic all qualify now,” Rep. Clyburn said.

South Carolinans between jobs were previously able to get $326 a week for 20 weeks on unemployment, but they can now get up to $926 a week for up to four months, according to Sen. Graham.

“Anybody making $50,000 or less basically will be made whole and some people will actually get more money,” Sen. Graham said.

One caller from Spartanburg asked about what she’s going to have to do to get unemployment.

“Under the law now, will I still have to actively seek work every week and do I have to report every week?” she asked.

“No you don’t,” Rep. Clyburn said. “No you don’t. We’ve exempted those kind requirements.”

7News has heard complaints from a lot of people about dealing with the state unemployment office. Sen. Graham said he is going to be working on getting the technology there upgraded so they can keep up with the demand.

Rep. Clyburn said he thinks while this stimulus is significant, he thinks that more assistance will be needed soon.

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