South Dakota braces for stream of jobless claims

PIERRE, S.D. (KEVN/KOTA TV) - As COVID-19 advances through South Dakota, the economy stalls, prompting the state to beef up its ability to help people who can’t work.


Because of a spike of unemployment claims the week of March 2 (185 claims), the governor added 16 people to its unemployment insurance call center, augmenting the 11 already on staff. The state is also adding 27 more phone lines.

“Many of the claimants that we’re seeing are first time users and are unfamiliar with the process,” Gov. Kristi Noem said Monday.

South Dakota will waive the requirement workers filing for unemployment must actively search for work to be eligible for benefits. This waiver remains effective until the governor’s declared state of emergency ends.

The change will also accommodate those workers who are temporarily impacted by COVID-19, including those who are in an unpaid status or whose hours are reduced due to a shutdown or quarantine.

Job seekers are encouraged to continue searching, as employers are still actively seeking workers.

To file a weekly request for payment, visit or call 605-626-3212. The application will ask: “Did you make contacts for employment as instructed?” Claimants should select, “no” and write “not required” in the comment box.