Some 29,000 South Carolina residents will be impacted when federal unemployment benefits end next month. Individuals nationwide are to be affected when the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program expires. The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce estimates this change will remove an estimated $6.2 million from the state’s economy each week. Regardless of where an individual falls on the four-tier Emergency Unemployment Compensation system, all payments will cease at the program’s end. After Dec. 29,South Carolina residents filing for Unemployment Insurance compensation will only be eligible for up to 20 weeks of state benefits. Affected claimants are encouraged to take advantage of free resources in local South Carolina Works centers and online at www.jobs.sc.works.org. Emergency Unemployment Compensation is a temporary federal program created in 2008 to assist individuals who have exhausted regular state benefits. The program was extended several times, but the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 set December 2012 as the end date.