As anyone who's opened a newspaper in the last few months will know, the effect of COVID on the nation's economy has been just like devastating as the effect on its health. As CNN reports, the current unemployment rate now sits at almost 20%, an archive number that's only set to obtain worse before it gets better. In South Carolina, the situation is no different from anywhere else. Since the crisis began to unravel in March, nearly half a million have filed for unemployment. As the numbers are slowly beginning to taper off as businesses start to reopen, the total unemployment rate still makes for grim reading. If you're among the thousands of South Carolina residents who've lost their jobs, unemployment insurance benefits (UI) may help keep you afloat until you find new employment. Here's what you need to know about how to file for unemployment in South Carolina.
Who's Eligible To Claim?
To qualify for state benefits, you'll need to meet certain eligibility requirements. Typically, it's expected that you simply:
- Lost your job through no fault of your (if you quit your job voluntarily, you'll need to show you had good induce to do so)
- Earned at least $4,445 during your \”base period\” (in other words, the first four of the last five calendar quarters before you decide to filed your claim). You will also need to have earned at least $1,092 during the highest-earning quarter of your base period
- Have been previously employed in South Carolina. If you live in South Carolina but worked in another state, you should claim in the state that you worked
- Are able to work and are actively searching for new employment
Further to the COVID crisis, certain changes have been made to the eligibility criteria. If you have been furloughed, placed in quarantine after exposure, would be the primary caregiver to someone who's been quarantined, or can't work due to school closures, you'll no longer have to fulfill the work search requirement. In a further change to the normal rules, contractors and self-employed individuals (who may not be able to collect UI), are now able to apply for support through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
How to File A Claim
Before starting your application, gather all the details you'll be required to confirm. This includes your social security number, your alien number plate if you're not a US citizen, and also the details of all employers you've worked for over the last 18 months.
Once you've gathered all the necessary details, you'll need to create an account at the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce’s (DEW) MyBenefits portal.
Once you've logged on, select \”Register Now!\” after which input any requested information, to incorporate name, address, SSN, and employment history. You'll also be asked to enter the bank account information you'd like your advantages to be paid into.
After you've filed your initial claim, the DEW will start working on your application to determine your eligibility. They may reach out to you to request more information as part of the review, in which case, attempt to respond as promptly as possible to avoid any delays in processing. If you can't reply, the department may rely only on the information provided as part of the initial application, which might negatively impact your eligibility.
In to collect payments, you'll need to make weekly claims. The weekly claim process is much quicker and smoother than the initial application, but it's vital you do not forget – if you do, you won't meet the requirements to collect payment for the missed week. Claims are necessary every week after you've made your initial application, so don't wait until you've received a decision in your eligibility to start.
How Much Will I Get?
As Fool.com notes, all the benefits that can be collected weekly is $326. The minimum is $42. However, your actual entitlement is determined by your earnings over the base period. Be prepared to receive around 50% of your average weekly income. Along with what the state pays, you'll also receive a supplementary weekly payment of $600. The payment, that is one of the provisions of the CARES Act, is payable for 4 months as a whole, with an end date of July.
How Long Can I Claim?
Typically, South Carolina will allow you to claim a maximum of 20 weeks of benefits in any 52-week period. However, as another provision from the CARES Act, this has been extended to 33 weeks. If you have used up the state entitlement, you'll therefore have the ability to claim an additional 13 weeks of benefits until the end of July.
How Can one Appeal If My Claim Is Denied?
Once the DEW has completed their overview of your application (this can be in as little as Twenty four hours if it's a straightforward application, or up to 3 weeks if you have any complex employment history or multiple income sources), they'll give back a determination letter stating their decision. The determination includes details of your eligibility, your WBA (weekly benefits amount), and quantity of eligible weeks. If you disagree with the decision, or feel an error was made in any of the determinations, you have the choice to appeal.
To appeal, you'll need to complete a Notice of Appeal form (forms can be downloaded here) and return this to the DEW within 10 days of the date stated in your determination letter. The appeal will have to include your name and SSN, along with a brief explanation of your reason(s) for filing the appeal. You will subsequently be contacted by the DEW with a hearing date for your case to be reviewed. If you have any evidence to support your appeal, make sure this is provided well before the hearing date. Once the hearing has taken place, you'll get a decision within 10 days. Any appeals made after this point will first need to be logged with the appellate panel (information on how to do this will be as part of your hearing review letter), and finally with the South Carolina Administrative Law Court.