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South Carolina

These resources – like the public health crisis itself – are constantly evolving and are only current as to the date of publication. This page was last updated on August 4, 2020.

For more up-to-date information on the relief programs available in South Carolina, we recommend that you visit the Governor's Executive Orders, the Department of Commerce website or the Department of Health and Environment Control's COVID-19 resources.

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Description of Program and Relief

Unemployment Insurance Benefits, Suspension of Job Search Requirement for Claimants, Waiver of Waiting Week for Claimants, and Additional Programs Under the CARES Act

Unemployed workers affected by COVID-19 may be eligible for benefits under already-existing South Carolina Unemployment Insurance Benefits or under programs created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), each of which provide temporary income for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own.

South Carolina has also made certain changes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic:

For claimants: South Carolina normally requires a waiting-week period, where individuals who qualify for Unemployment Insurance Benefits must wait a week during which they will not be paid before receiving unemployment benefits. This requirement has been waived pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Orders No. 2020-11, 2020-25, and 2020-50 for the duration of the state of emergency declared by the Governor. This means South Carolinians can expect to receive their first Unemployment Insurance Benefits payment one week faster than would usually be the case during the applicable period.

In addition to already-existing South Carolina Unemployment Insurance Benefits, the CARES Act has added 3 additional programs:

  1. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation provides an additional $600 per week, in addition to already-existing South Carolina Unemployment Insurance Benefits, to eligible claimants.

  2. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provides Unemployment Insurance Benefits for individuals who were not eligible for already-existing South Carolina Unemployment Insurance Benefits, including self-employed individuals, church employees, independent contractors and gig economy workers.

  3. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation provides up to an additional 13 weeks of Unemployment Insurance Benefits to those who have already exhausted the standard South Carolina Unemployment Insurance Benefits of 20 weeks.

  4. For employers: Benefits paid as a result of the COVID-19 state of emergency will not be charged to contributory employers’ accounts.

Government or Lead Agency

South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce

Dates Available

Available now

Any claim for Unemployment Insurance Benefits submitted after March 15, 2020 and for the duration of the State of Emergency will have the waiting-week requirement waived, unless the waiver is otherwise modified, amended, or rescinded by subsequent Order.

Eligibility Requirements/Restrictions

In order to receive Unemployment Insurance Benefits (including the additional programs that are part of the CARES Act), applicants must submit an initial claim to the Department of Employment and Workforce. Basic eligibility requirements generally include being fully or partially unemployed, through no fault of your own; able and available for work and willing to take any suitable offer; willing to report to your local comprehensive SC Works center as required; and actively searching for suitable work each week that you file a weekly certification for Unemployment Insurance Benefits, including by completing at least two work searches a week through the SC Works Online Services portal.

More information on eligibility requirements can be found here:

https://dew.sc.gov/individuals/apply-for-benefits/eligibility-requirements

Anyone who is out of work due to a business closing, layoff, or reduction in hours related to the COVID-19 crisis who applies for Unemployment Insurance Benefits between March 15, 2020 and the termination of the State of Emergency is eligible for the waiting-week waiver.

Application Deadlines (If Applicable)

Any individual that submits a claim for Unemployment Insurance Benefits between March 15, 2020 and the termination of the State of Emergency will have the waiting week period waived.

Contact for More Information

To begin the claims process, visit the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce here: https://dew.sc.gov/individuals/apply-for-benefits

South Carolina offers assistance for those applying for benefits through TelClaim at 1 (866) 831-1724 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Applicants should review the Applicant Reference Guide, available here.

For employers seeking more information, email suits@dew.sc.gov.

List of Additional Information

Additional information can be found here, here, here, here, here, here and at the following links:

https://dew.sc.gov/covid-hub

https://dew.sc.gov/individuals/apply-for-benefits/claims-process

https://dew.sc.gov/employers/tax

https://dew.sc.gov/employers/suits/suits-faq


© 2021 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. This does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. In some jurisdictions, this publication may be considered attorney advertising. Past representations are no guarantee of future outcomes.

© 2021 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

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