If you have temporarily or permanently lost your job through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to unemployment compensation. As soon as you are terminated or laid off, you should visit the South Carolina Department of Emploment and Workforce (DEW)'s website. You must fill out forms requesting that unemployment compensation benefits be started. You must also register for work through South Carolina Works Online Services, make a serious effort to get another job, be physically able to work and be available for work without undue restriction (have child care, transportation and so on).
Once you have applied for unemployment compensation, your employer may report that you voluntarily quit without good cause or that you were discharged for bad attendance, violating work rules or another disqualifying reason. DEW can decide at that point to penalize or disqualify you for a portion or all of your unemployment benefits. If you are disqualified from receiving benefits, you have the right to appeal this decision. You must continue to file your weekly claims during the appeal, otherwise you can not be paid even if you win the appeal. You may want to contact a lawyer.
If you receive unemployment benefits without any disqualification, your first week after filing for benefits is a "waiting week" and no benefits are paid for this week. Thereafter, you should receive a weekly check until you have used up all of your benefits or have found another job.
Remember, if you lose your job temporarily or permanently through no fault of your own, you should immediately visit DEW's claimant website and file an application for unemployment compensation. You may lose some benefits if you wait.
If your work is affected by COVID-19, you can apply for Unemployment Insurance. This process and these benefits are the same as applying for benefits if you lose your job through no fault of your own. DEW's website will walk you through the steps of filing a claim.
This information was prepared to give you some general information on the law. It is not intended as legal advice about any particular problem. If you have questions about the law you should consult a lawyer. If you do not know a lawyer, you can call the South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The number is 799-7100 in Richland or Lexington Counties, and 1-800-868-2284 from other parts of the state.
Unemployment Benefits Appeals in South Carolina
You must do things to make a claim for unemployment benefits. You must:
- Apply for benefits.
- Register for work.
- Search for work.
- File weekly claims.
DEW's website has information about each of these steps. If you do not follow these steps carefully, your benefits may be delayed or denied.
Apply for benefits
The first step to determining whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits is to apply through DEW's MyBenefits portal. You will be required to answer a series of questions and given important log-in information.
Register for work
When you apply for benefits, you will be given log-in information for SC Works Online Services.You are required to log-in and create a resume on that website.
Search for work
You are required to conduct at least two work searches each week using SC Works Online Services. If you do not conduct the required two work searches using that webiste, DEW will stop your benefits for that week.
File weekly claim
You will need to continue filing weekly claims to receive benefits. You can file weekly claims using DEW's MyBenefits portal. or DEW's TeleClaim telephone system by calling 1-866-831-1724. Filing a weekly claim involves answering questions about whether you worked, earned any income and whether you were able, available and looking for work. Claims must be filed sometime between Sunday and the following Saturday for the previous week. You will be required to report your gross (before taxes) wages earned in the previous week. You must report the wages earned, even if you have not yet been paid those wages. If you do not file your weekly claim, or if you file it late, you may not receive benefits for that week.
For cases on appeal
If you have been denied benefits and are in the process of appealing your claim, you must continue to file weekly claims and conducting the required two work searches a week. If you fail to do these things, then even if your appeal is successful, you may not receive benefits.
South Carolina Unemployment Benefits
The South Carolina Department Of Employment And Workforce (DEW) offers Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to help people who have lost through no fault of their own. The South Carolina UI program offers only temporary assistance and includes several eligibility requirements which you must meet in order to receive benefits.
On this page, we will tell you all about South Carolina unemployment benefits including the eligibility requirements, application process, weekly claims, and many more.
Eligibility To Apply For UI Benefits In South Carolina
You must meet eligibility criteria like monetary requirements, job separation, etc. to receive unemployment benefits in South Carolina.
To be monetarily eligible to receive South Carolina unemployment benefits, you must:
- Have earned at least $4,455 from a covered employment during your base period
- Have total base period wages that are equal to at least 1.5 times the wages in the higher quarter of your base period
- Have at least $1,092 in a covered employment during your highest quarter of your base period
Note that the base period is nothing but wages earned during 12 months of insured work. Base period wages not just establish monetary eligibility but also pay a key role in determining your benefit amount. Base period is of two types: the standard base period and the alternate base period.
Standard Base Period– In South Carolina, the base period is the first four of the five complete calendar quarters before the start date of your unemployment claim.
Alternate Base Period– It is the last four completed calendar quarters preceding the first day of your benefit year.
If you don’t have enough wages in your standard base period, the wages in your alternate base period will be considered. Note that only DEW will decide under which base period system your situation falls and you cannot determine it yourself.
The reason for separation from the previous employer is another important eligibility requirement for qualifying for Unemployment Insurance in South Carolina. The requirements include:
- You have lost your job through no fault of your own
- You lost your job in Reduction-In-Force
- You quit your job due to unsafe working conditions
- You quit your job due to violation of employee contract
- You had medical condition and were unable to work
- DEW may contact your employer to determine the actual reason for your job separation. If the reason given by your employer differs from yours, the Department will put your application on hold or disqualify you from receiving benefits. Therefore, keep DEW informed about the actual reason for job separation.
- If you are determined to be monetarily eligible for benefits, you must serve a waiting week for which you will not receive benefits. You must be totally or partially unemployed during this waiting week and meet all other eligibility requirements of the law.
Eligibility requirements – overview
Your responsibility doesn’t end with filing an initial unemployment claim in South Carolina. You should maintain eligibility requirements throughout your benefit period to continue to receive benefits.
- You must be able to work and be available for work
- You must be willing to take any suitable job
- You must actively seek employment each week that you file an unemployment claim
- You must report to your local comprehensive SC Works center whenever required
- You must complete at least two work searches through SC Works Online Services each week that you file an unemployment claim
Note– If you have worked the majority of your weeks in a part-time job during your base period, you will have to look for a part-time job during your benefit period, provided the South Carolina DEW approves the same.
Find out on job search requirements
How To Apply For UI Benefits In South Carolina?
To apply for South Carolina unemployment benefits, you need the following documents:
In South Carolina, you can apply for unemployment benefits only through the MyBenefits portal. However, if you need any assistance with it, you can contact claims representatives at 1-866-831-1724. Note that the benefit weeks begin on Sunday at 12:01 a.m. and end on the following Saturday at 12:00 a.m.
How To File Weekly Claims
A weekly begins Sunday and ends the following Saturday. If you have worked during the week, you must report your gross earnings (even if you have not been paid yet). You may file your weekly unemployment claim through the MyBenefits portal. If you face any trouble while filing a UI claim, call the representative at 1-866-831-1724 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.
Learn how to claim weekly benefits
UI Benefits Amount
In South Carolina, the weekly benefit amount is approximately 50% of your average weekly wage. The maximum weekly benefit amount you can receive in the state is $326 and minimum is $42.
Use the benefits calculator to determine your estimated weekly unemployment benefit amount.
Know more about the Benefits Calculator
Things To Know After Filing An Application
There are several aspects that you must know to get through your benefit year without any trouble.
Overpayment And Fraud
Sometimes, you may receive overpayments due to various reasons, including an administrative error, fraud, or a hearing officer reversing a previous award. If you receive an overpayment due to administrative error or other non-fraudulent reasons, you will be required to repay the overpaid unemployment benefits. If you fail to repay, the Department may withhold the amount of the overpayment from your state tax refund through the South Carolina Department and through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by withholding the amount from your federal tax return.
Fraud/ Willful Misrepresentation
If you receive overpayments due to false intentional misrepresentation or statement, you will be ineligible to receive benefits for a period of not less than ten nor more than fifty-two weeks. You may also face criminal charges or be required to pay a fine.
The state of South Carolina provides benefits extension when the unemployment rate is too high or there is an economic crisis. Visit South Carolina DEW to know more about the benefits extension programs.
Job Training Assistance
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) through certified training providers help jobseekers with education and skills required for in-demand jobs. Visit jobs.scworks.org to get a list of training providers.
Know more job training opportunities in SC
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Some South Carolina residents are looking for help over drawn-out claims for unemployment benefits.
They say the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce has been unresponsive to their questions and slow on their claims, costing them valuable time and money.
Rock Hill resident Mary Nelson said she was laid off in January, and as part of the claims process the DEW requested documents showing proof of identity.
As of late March, she said she has received no aid and little information on when that will change, causing stress.
“Waking up every morning not knowing if your vehicle is still going to be outside. Waking up not knowing are your utilities still going to still be on. It’s every day, it’s always what’s going to happen today. If this don’t come, what’s going to happen,” she said.
Gaston resident Phillip Reville said after a months-long appeals process he was approved in January. However, he said the department has been similarly mum on answers about the money when he calls.
“It’s like [they say] I’m sorry we feel for you, but it’s the next level. But they never let you talk to the next level. You can’t speak to anybody,” he said.
DEW Director of Communications Dorothy Weaver told WIS the department could not comment on individual cases over privacy concerns, but the department would look into their situations.
She sent WIS the following statement:
“In the past year, we have processed nearly 1 million initial claims. 5 years’ worth of work – more than 5.5 million staff hours’ worth of work, completed in one year.
At the same time, UI fraud is rampant throughout the country, and our agency has increasingly responded to threats with new and improving measures to ensure that the right people receive benefits.
Every claimant matters to us, and some individuals have complex claims that have to be resolved by an agency professional with years of training and experience. We are doing all we can to help each individual, including implementing a new customer relationship management tool to better serve people when they interact with us.
With more than $5.5 billion paid to South Carolinians since March 15, 2020, we will continue to identify and work with every claimant to provide this critical support.”
The department also posts instructions and updates about the process on its website.
SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center Director Sue Berkowitz said delays have been a trend during the pandemic, and she’s struggled to work with the department on the behalf of clients.
“The whole point of unemployment insurance benefits is that it is a benefit that should be coming if not immediately, then shortly thereafter immediately. When you hear from folks that are appealing and waiting months and months, their lives are falling apart,” she said.
She recommended those who are concerned about the status of their payments to contact their state lawmakers, who may be able to speed up the process.
Copyright 2021 WIS. All rights reserved.
Unemployment questions sc
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina will be opting out of all federal pandemic programs over the weekend.
Officials say Saturday is the last day of that claim week and starting on Sunday, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce returns to pre-pandemic unemployment operations.
SCDEW says those who are still unemployed after this week, will no longer receive the $300 weekly add-on benefit for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
They say if a person is eligible to move from federal programs to state programs, they will be notified with next steps to take through the MyBenefits portal.
SCDEW says as of last month, the state unemployment rate was 4.6%.
For comparison, last May, that rate was 11.5%. In January of last year, before the pandemic, it was at 2.6%.
With this return to pre-pandemic unemployment insurance, SCDEW says the SC Works Online Search program will continue offering job seeking opportunities and services.
SCDEW Chief of Staff Jamie Suber says more jobs are posted right now than they’ve seen since 2015.
“The demand for labor, the demand for you, is high right now. Let’s take advantage of that need,” Suber said. “In addition, unemployment can only provide a partial wage replacement. A job can provide a lot more than that. Financial stability, and in many cases, medical benefits and retirement options.”
Those who are still unemployed after this week, will need to certify their claim next week. That’s because payments are paid one week back. The Department of Employment and Workforce says those people will have to complete their tow weekly work searches through SC Works.
More information on what the regular unemployment insurance looks like, as well as what all is changing can be found on the DEW website.
Copyright 2021 WCSC. All rights reserved.
Your S.C. Unemployment questions, answered
COLUMBIA, S.C. — For about an hour on Wednesday, the Department of Employment and Workforce answered questions virtually from employees and employers alike.
The Zoom information session was held by the Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce and featured dozens of participants, including business and political leaders.
One of the first questions was for people who have already applied for benefits. If they missed re-certifying their claim each week, what can they do?
“Normally, in regards to certifying for a week, you can go back up to two weeks on your own. If it's further than two weeks you'd have to talk to a dedicated representative and that would be something we'd have to do for you,” said Chief of Staff Jamie Suber on the call.
Chief Legal Officer Todd Timmons also participated on the call.
He was asked what to do if your employer recently received a payroll loan, but you've already been given unemployment benefits on furlough.
“If that's the case they will not have to return any of their unemployment and if they haven't gotten the money yet they can still continue the process and hopefully we'll get to them and pay them out. They're not going to have to return any money. The only caveat to that is if the employer does something like pay them out backpay of the weeks they've missed and then continue them on with the salary continuation as well. In that case there may be a potential issue,” Timmons said.
Suber also asked people with pending claims, who do not need to provide any more information, to be patient.
“Again, there may not be anything that you can even do at that point and time, and the responsibility may be on us. And, we just have not gotten to it yet. I'll speak to some timelines and time frames. Ideally, we have up to 21 days for an individual to receive a decision in regards to eligibility. Due to the volume and the complexity of the type of claims coming into the system right now, we're trying our best to work through the volume that we have,” Suber said.
In a telling question, the two DEW officers were asked what benefits people have access to if they’re afraid to return to work.
“This is a common question and it's a difficult question. I know, especially this early in the process, people have questions about how all this is going to play out. The short answer is yes, a generalized fear is not going to be enough to not return to work,” Timmons explained.
Timmons continued, saying you would have to meet other criteria like a COVID-19 diagnosis or a quarantine or stay-home order from a doctor to continue receiving benefits.
There was some good news for newly opened businesses on the call.
“If COVID-19 has caused you to not earn anything, then just because you started in February isn't going to hold you back from eligibility I wouldn't think,” Timmons said.
However, he clarified the benefits would not extend to businesses which would not have been open or ready yet anyway.
The Department told participants on the call self-employed people should file claims after they're unable to receive earnings and take a paycheck.
In six weeks more than 400,000 people in South Carolina have filed for unemployment. New numbers for last week's claims will come out on Thursday.
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Approximately 60,000 unemployed South Carolinians will no longer be eligible for any unemployment benefits starting Wednesday.
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says that includes both federal and state benefits.
South Carolina is one of more than 20 states rolling back federal unemployment benefits before the national September deadline.
Gov. Henry McMaster says his decision to do that is already starting to bring people back to work and shrinking the state labor shortage.
“We are hearing from businesses around the state that things are getting better, but we still have a ways to go,” McMaster said.
There are still tens of thousands of open jobs in the state, and SCDEW officials say there are thousands more open jobs than unemployed workers, an issue that has been causing a labor shortage for months and hitting some businesses hard.
Some experts say it is too early to tell if the move has already begun to affect the workforce as McMaster has claimed. They say we will know more in the next few weeks to months because like so many economic problems, there isn’t just one fix.
“If you were earning $16 an hour before the pandemic you were financially better off on unemployment and that’s no longer the case,” University of South Carolina Economist Joey Von Nessen said.
Von Nessen said the state was in a labor shortage before the pandemic began because of multiple factors including the retiring of the Baby Boomers, more people moving to South Carolina who have retired, declining birth rates and lowering immigration.
But like so many other things, COVID-19 made it worse.
“We saw a major decline in economic activity in 2020 and we are seeing the inverse of that, what I call ‘economic whiplash,’ in 2021,” Von Nessen said.
Businesses are trying to hire quickly to keep up with demand.
“They are very, very eager at the moment,” Assistant Executive Director of Employment Service Grey Parks said. “It’s like something I haven’t seen.”
But Von Nessen says while certain people may be coming back to work because of the end in federal benefits, in particular people who were making less than they would on federal unemployment at the rate of $16 per hour, more effort needs to be made to get workers into higher-paying jobs.
“Like construction and manufacturing where they average rate is about $30 an hour, in their case, they are going to need more focus on the job training and improving workers skills and that’s a different challenge than just bringing people off the sidelines,” Von Nessen said.
South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce President Frank Knapp said he expects the economy to go back to normal sometime around the fall.
“The kids will be back in school, college kids will be back in town, mothers will be able to go back to work because they won’t be worrying about who is taking care of the children,” he said.
But some businesses, he says, may need to realize the workforce has changed.
“We know a lot of women dropped out of the workforce and haven’t come back for multiple reasons,” he said. “We know people that have been out of work have probably found something else to do.”
The Department of Labor and Workforce says nearly every industry is currently hiring. Many of them are trying to incentivize workers with more benefits or higher wages.
While the benefits ended last week, SCDEW officials say people can still certify this week that they were unemployed last week and eligible for those benefits.
Federal unemployment programs include Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs, among others.
Copyright 2021 WCSC. All rights reserved.