Eyewitness News was there as a group of South Carolina Democratic lawmakers blasted a move to consolidate 17 employment offices statewide.
The move comes after the federal government axed roughly $15 million in funding from the Department of Employment and Workforce in the Palmetto State.
"This is an attack on the poor, and the rural communities in South Carolina," said Richland County Democrat Todd Rutherford. He was flanked by other Democrats who railed against the move.
One of the offices that will lose most of its services is in Chester. State Sen. Creighton Coleman represents the county and said it will make a terrible situation even worse.
"If you live in western Chester County and you have to drive to Lancaster to get unemployment benefits, you're talking about driving 60 to 70 miles," Coleman said. "These are the people who can least afford the $50 to put gas in their car to drive."
The offices selected for consolidation will remain open, but only to provide basic services such as help with resumes. Filing claims, or getting service related to benefits will now have to be done online.
Some lawmakers blamed Gov. Nikki Haley, saying she had launched a war on unemployment benefits.
Rutherford said the county is seeing the cutbacks have the highest unemployment rates, which have not fallen as sharply as in more developed counties.
"Looking at the list of counties where "dew" is going to eliminate positions, these are the most vulnerable counties," he said.
Haley told reporters that it's a good thing when government can be downsized.
She said with the loss of federal money, it's the state's duty to think smarter.
"This was the feds that cut revenues to us. It is the good part of business to turn around and say 'we have to respond to that, and be efficient,'" she said.
No one at the Chester employment office who Channel 9 spoke to Tuesday had any idea what was happening. A sign on the door tells clients that unemployment insurance services won't be available as of Feb. 15.
The sign urges people to use the phone, go online, or drive to Lancaster for help in person.
For Arktavia Stratford, out of work since June, that's not so easy. "I've been coming here every week. Just finding out I got to drive all the way to Lancaster. That's terrible," Stratford said.
"This (is the) closest office here for everybody, especially for people who don't have cars," she said.
The Department of Employment and Workforce is still in the midst of restructuring following the layoffs of more than 100 workers statewide.