Do I qualify for unemployment benefits in South Carolina?
If losing your job wasn’t your fault and your employer(s) paid taxes in your name, you can receive unemployment benefits if your year’s income prior to the quarter you lost work meets a specified minimum. (They’ll mail you about your monetary eligibility.)
To receive benefits, you must:
- be seeking full-time employment
- be able to work
- be available for work.
Employers fund unemployment insurance entirely. It is not welfare nor are funds withheld from your pay for these benefits.
Wages Determine Your Benefits
Wages earned doing one year of insured work—the base period—determine your benefits. Only wages earned from an employer covered by South Carolina employment security law count as base-period wages. Generally wages earned from construction, factory work, mills, shops, stores, offices, banks, mines, and other businesses employing one or more persons count. The law does not cover certain farm labor, certain domestic services in private homes, and several other employment types.
You cannot file for extended state benefits on this site. You must file in person at your local workforce center. Living outside South Carolina? Call 800.529.8339 to file for extended benefits. Extended Benefits are benefits available after you exhaust your federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation. The State Extended Benefits extends benefits for up to 13 additional weeks. State Extended Benefits are available for individuals who have exhausted all regular unemployment insurance and all Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), First, Second, Third and Fourth Tier on or after February 15, 2009.
Filing Your Claim
- You must have earned sufficient wages in order to establish an entitlement to benefits. You will receive a determination in the mail advising you of your monetary eligibility.
- You must be able to and available for work and be actively seeking full-time employment in order to receive benefits.
- If you have quit or been discharged from your job, you may be disqualified from receiving benefits. Your claim will be evaluated and you will be notified of any disqualification that is imposed.
- You will not be paid for the first week you are eligible in each benefit year.
- Your continuing eligibility to receive benefits will be periodically reviewed.
- Unemployment insurance benefits are taxable.
You cannot file a claim unless eligible. Being eligible means you meet the following requirements:
- You’re unemployed. Note: If you work less than full time due to being out of work and earn less than your weekly benefit amount, you are still considered unemployed. Remember, when filing your weekly claim, report all work you did and wages you earned that week. Plus, you still must be seeking full-time work.
- It was not your fault that you lost your job from your most recent bona fide employer. We define “most recent bona fide employer” as your most recent former employer where you earned eight times your weekly benefit amount.
- You are able to work.
- You are available for full-time work and willing to take any suitable work offer.
- You regularly report to the local Workforce Center as expected. If you know you will be away at reporting time you let the center know in advance. Failure to report puts your benefits at risk.
- You actively seek appropriate, full-time work. Failure to seek work jeopardizes your benefits. While we will do all we can to help you find work, you must make a consistent, ongoing effort.
How do I file for South Carolina unemployment benefits?
File your initial claim here: https://secure.sces.org/PDIC/GatewayServlet?hptAppId=ICFJREG&hptExec=Y
SC Unemployment Claims Processes
The SC Unemployment claims process consists of three steps. Understanding each step is vital. Before you file a claim, understand what each step does and how you can best file and register for work. Anytime you need help, refer to the information you find here.
The first step is the “File Your Initial Claim.” The second step is “Register For Work.” The third step is “File Your Weekly Claim.” Each step makes good things happen for you and understanding each step’s purpose makes things go smoother for all.
Step 1—Your Initial Claim
You file your first, or Initial Claim, per benefit year. When you make your initial claim, you can also register for work. It’s an easy, automatic way to register for work. Your initial claim determines if you are eligible for benefits. File this claim in two ways: in person at one of the SC Unemployment offices, or online. After you make this one-time claim, it becomes Step 2, Register For Work. Register for work and file your initial claim now: https://secure.sces.org/PDIC/GatewayServlet?hptAppId=ICFJREG&hptExec=Y
Note: Once you file your initial claim, you’ll receive a notice with your wages from all covered employers during your base period. We’ll determine if your wages qualify you for benefits. If they do, you’ve established a benefit year. Think wages are missing? Report to your local unemployment office with documentation for missing wages.
Step 2—Register For Work
You register for work just one time and you must do it within two weeks of filing your initial claim. If you don’t, you won’t receive a check. The unemployment office expects and requires that you seek work on an ongoing basis. Getting you back to work is the top priority. You can register for work in three ways:
- Online—When making your initial claim you can also register for work. (They register you with South Carolina JobLink using information you give them). Register for work now: https://secure.sces.org/PDIC/GatewayServlet?hptAppId=ICFJREG&hptExec=Y
- Online—You can go to South Carolina MyBenefits and register yourself, much as you do in the step above. http://dew.sc.gov/claim-MyBenefits.asp
- In Person—Come to one of the SC unemployment offices and file online using their computers.
Step 3—File Your Weekly Claim
You file your weekly claim (A) to prove you remain eligible for benefits and (B) thus qualify to get a weekly check. You can file your weekly claim in three ways:
- In person at one of the SC unemployment offices
- Online (File online now) https://secure.sces.org/PDIC/GatewayServlet?hptAppId=ICFJREG&hptExec=Y
- Using your phone and the TelClaim System: 1.866.831.1724
South Carolina Unemployment Office Contact Information
SC Unemployment Website
SC Unemployment Mailing Address
1550 Gadsden Street
P.O. Box 995
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
SC Unemployment Phone Number