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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

To better respond, we are making changes to our claimant portal nightly from 11 pm – 3 am, and our system will not be available. 

COVID Federal Programs

Unemployment insurance (UI) has intricate standards, policies and expectations that have to be met at both the state and federal level. Combine that with new federal programs in response to COVID-19 and the process can seem complex.

To help explain some of the more common UI questions and to detail the eligibility and purpose of the programs offered through the CARES Act, DEW has compiled information to help South Carolinians through the process on our COVID-19 FAQs page. This will allow people with questions about a program or part of the process to more easily find that information. We will continue to update these documents as needed.

This information is also loaded into our Chatbot so you can find the answer to your question quickly and conveniently.

If you have a specific account question, please call our TelClaim number at 1-866-831-1724. We've also compiled more resources for you, just select the individual or employer button below.

Important Dates Recap:

  • As of late January 21, 2021, DEW began paying out PEUC benefits.
  • The weekend of January 8th, DEW began paying out PUA benefits.
  • January 4, 2021, DEW began issuing $300 FPUC payments to the first round of claimants.
  • As of claim week ending January 2, 2021, DEW received available funding to begin paying out the additional $300 FPUC payments.
  • On December 27, 2020 President Trump signed the Continued Assistance Act of 2020 into law.
  • December 21, 2020, Congress passed legislation to extend the unemployment benefit programs created under the CARES Act.
2021 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

Program Extended - NOW AVAILABLE

2021 FPUC Overview

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program was the first federal CARES Act program to be implemented in South Carolina. FPUC provides an additional $300 per week to eligible claimants, in addition to their Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA).

  • Since claimants receive payments for the previous claim week, that means the last week eligible claimants will receive their weekly benefit amount (plus the $300 FPUC payment) would be claim week ending March 13, 2021.
  • If a claimant is found eligible for any weeks between claim week ending January 2, 2021 – claim week ending March 13, 2021, they will receive back pay of the $300 FPUC payment for those weeks.  

2021 FPUC Eligibility

If you are found eligible to receive $1 of weekly benefits through regular UI, PUA or PEUC, you are eligible to receive the additional weekly $300 payment for that claim week. The FPUC program is set to expire, per the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act, claim week ending March 13, 2021. 

2021 FPUC Payments

  • Payment Amount: $300
  • Duration of FPUC program
    • First Payable Week: Retroactive to claim week ending January 2, 2021.
    • Last Payable Week: Claim Week Ending March 13, 2021.

Additional Resources 

Read the UI During COVID-19 FAQ (PDF)

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Program Extended - NOW AVAILABLE

PUA Overview

PUA is unemployment assistance for the self-employed, contractor, gig worker, those who file a 1099, individuals who are ineligible for any other state or federal unemployment benefits and who are unemployed, unable to work or unavailable to work as a direct result of COVID-19.

The federal extension signed into law at the end of 2020, will allow for 11 additional weeks of benefits under the PUA program. This means instead of 39 weeks of PUA, eligible claimants may receive up to 50 weeks of PUA total.

The federal PUA extension is now available in South Carolina. Claimants found eligible for weeks dating back to January 2, 2021, will also receive the supplemental $300 per week for the duration of the FPUC program. 

There is a new documentation requirement for PUA claimants. See that section below. 

PUA Eligibility

New Filers: If you have been deemed monetarily ineligible for regular state Unemployment Insurance (UI), it may be because you filed your claim as self-employed, contractor, gig worker or someone who files a 1099. Please understand that the funding for which you may be eligible does not come from state resources. What that means is, you will receive notification that you have been denied state unemployment insurance benefits.

The number of weeks for an individual on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program has increased from a previous total of 39 weeks to 50 weeks, per the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act.

PUA Payments

  • Payment Amount: The Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) you will be eligible to receive will be displayed on your portal homepage. It can range from $131 - $326 per week.
  • Duration of PUA program
    • First Payable Week: Retroactive to claim week ending January 2, 2021.
    • Last Payable Week: Claim week ending March 13, 2021. 

PUA Application Process

New Filers: If you have not filed for unemployment insurance, feel free to visit our Apply for Benefits page to walk you through the process or go directly to the MyBenefits Portal to begin.

If you are found eligible for benefits, you may receive your payment within 7-14 days, but for more complex claims it could take up to 21 days to process and receive payment.

NEW DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENT FOR PUA CLAIMANTS

Please be advised that if you filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), you may have received a letter requesting documentation. The Continued Assistance Act requires that any PUA claimant who filed before January 31, 2021 and received payment on or after December 27, 2020, have 90 calendar days from the date on the letter from DEW to provide the required documentation to the agency.

PUA claimants who filed a claim on or after January 31, 2021 have 21 calendar days from the date on the letter from DEW to provide the required documentation to the agency.

What documents are acceptable proof of employment? 

Proof of employment includes, but is not limited to: W-2 forms, paycheck stubs and earnings, leave statements that show the employer’s name and address.

Proof of employment with organizations such as Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and educational or religious organizations includes, but is not limited to: documentation from the organizations or signed affidavits verifying your attachment to such organizations.

Proof of self-employment includes, but is not limited to: state or federal tax returns, state or federal employer identification numbers, business licenses, business receipts, signed affidavits verifying the self-employment.

For individuals who obtained work but were not able to start the job, also known as planned commencement of employment, you can provide a letter from the company offering the work or a signed affidavit verifying the offer of employment.

For individuals who were starting self-employment but were not able to, also known as planned commencement of self-employment, you can provide a business letter, state or federal employer identification numbers, a written business plan or a lease agreement.

How do I submit the documentation to the agency? 

To upload your documents to the benefits portal, log in and click the My Documents tab. From there, select the Notice ID that is displayed on the upper right corner to complete the upload.

You may also mail a copy of your documentation to:

SC DEW
P.O. Box 1477
Columbia SC 29202.

If you mail your documentation, please include a copy of the document that was sent to you through the MyBenefits portal as it will provide the claimant ID that correlates to the documents.

How do I know if these document requirements apply to me?

If you are a PUA claimant and received the documentation notice in your MyBenefits portal, you should submit the required documentation within the indicated timeline through your portal or by mail, unless you have had other communication with the agency that confirms we have already received your documents.

Additional PUA Resources

Read the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance FAQ (PDF)
View the New Weekly Certification Question Added for PUA Claimants (PDF)

If you need assistance applying for benefits, claims representatives are available at 1-866-831-1724.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

 

Program Extended - NOW AVAILABLE

PEUC Overview

The federal extension signed into law at the end of 2020, allows for 11 additional weeks of benefits under the PEUC program. This means instead of 13 weeks total of PEUC, eligible claimants may receive up to 24 weeks of PEUC total.

For those who previously exhausted their 13 weeks of PEUC prior to December 26, 2020, the federal extension is now available in South Carolina. Please log into your portal and certify any available weeks dating back to January 2, 2021. If you are found eligible for any or all of those weeks, you will receive back pay. The back pay will include your weekly benefit amount (WBA) plus the $300 FPUC payment for each week found eligible.

PEUC Eligibility

To be eligible for benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, individuals must:

  • Have exhausted all regular unemployment insurance benefit payments.
  • Be able and available for work, unless unable to do so due to COVID-19 related reasons.
  • Be registered with SCWOS job search portal. You do not have to complete job searches during State of Emergency declared by the governor, but you must be registered.
  • Report any covered earnings earned during the week being claimed. Covered earnings includes, but is not limited to, wages, paid sick time, vacation pay, and holiday pay.
  • This program does not apply to individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

PEUC Payments

  • Payment Amount: Same as individual's regular UI benefit. NOTE: Claimants will also receive the $300 FPUC payment, in addition to their weekly benefit amount, through the duration of the FPUC program extension.
  • Duration of PEUC Benefits (total of 24 weeks)
    • First Payable Week: Program extension allows payment retroactive to week ending January 2, 2021.
    • Last Payable Week: Claim Week Ending March 13, 2021.

PEUC Application Process

Filing under the federal extension program? There is no application process for the PEUC extension program. Just continue to certify for any available weeks in your MyBenefits portal, dating back to January 2, 2021.

New PEUC filer? The “apply for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation” link will only be available to those who have exhausted their 20 weeks of state benefits. If you can apply, it will be displayed on the Customer Menu page of your MyBenefits Portal.

PEUC Application Process PDF Tutorial
PEUC Filing Process Video Tutorial

Additional PEUC Resources

Read the PEUC Frequently Asked Questions FAQ (PDF)

If you need assistance applying for benefits, claims representatives are available at 1-866-831-1724.

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)

MEUC Overview

South Carolina is still programming its computer system to implement the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program to allow applications for the new program.

What is the MEUC program? It provides eligible individuals with a $100 weekly payment, in addition to the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ($300) weekly payment and their weekly benefit amount.

MEUC Eligibility

If you are found eligible to receive $1 of weekly benefits through regular UI,

  • Claimant must have received at least $5,000 of net self-employment income in the most recent taxable year, prior to the date the individual files an application for regular unemployment benefits.
  • Claimant must be receiving a UI benefit (other than PUA) for which FPUC ($300) is payable.
  • Claimant must submit documentation showing proof of their self-employment income

What type of documentation of income must be submitted at the time of applying for MEUC?

  • Tax documents: 1099, quarterly tax filings for base period.
  • If the tax documents are not available, these alternative documents are acceptable:
    • Paycheck stubs during the base period
    • Business records during the base period
    • Invoices or billing statements during the base period
    • Written statement of contract work by the company for which claimant is a contractor
    • Business bank statements during the base period

What are the programs dates?

MEUC is payable no earlier than week ending January 2, 2021 and no later than claim week ending March 14, 2021. This means that the last payable week for MEUC is week ending, March 13, 2021 and the maximum number of weeks a claimant may receive this supplemental payment is 11 weeks or $1,100 in MEUC payments.

MEUC Payments

  • Payment Amount: $100
  • Duration of MEUC Benefits (total of 11 weeks)
    • First Payable Week: Program is payable from claim week ending January 2, 2021.
    • Last Payable Week: Claim weekend ending March 13, 2021

MEUC Application Process

The MEUC Application process is still be determined during the implementation. Once the process has been identified, DEW will provide instructions for claimants to follow.

Please note: any benefits paid as a result of fraud must be paid back. Also, South Carolina law provides for penalties and/or criminal prosecution for fraudulent claims. For more information about UI fraud, please see the UI fraud page.

2020 CARES ACT Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

Program Expired July 25, 2020

FPUC Overview

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program was the first federal CARES Act program to be implemented in South Carolina. FPUC provides an additional $600 per week to eligible claimants, in addition to their Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA). This program has expired.

NOTE: As stated in the CARES Act guidance: FPUC is not payable for any week of unemployment ending after July 31, 2020. Accordingly, in states where the week of unemployment ends on a Saturday, the last week that FPUC may be paid is the week ending July 25, 2020.

  • Since claimants receive payments for the previous claim week, that means the last week eligible claimants will receive their weekly benefit amount (plus the $600 FPUC payment) would be claim week ending August 1.
  • If a claimant is found eligible for any weeks between April 4, 2020 – claim week ending July 25, 2020, they will still receive the $600 FPUC payment for those weeks.

FPUC Eligibility

If you are found eligible to receive $1 of weekly benefits through regular UI, PUA or PEUC, you are eligible to receive the additional weekly $600 payment for that claim week. The FPUC program is set to expire, per the CARES Act, on July 25, 2020. Unless new legislation passes, that will mean after claim week ending July 25, 2020, eligible claimants will only receive their weekly benefit amount (range: $42-$326 per week in South Carolina).

FPUC Payments

  • Payment Amount: $600
  • Duration of FPUC program
    • First Payable Week: Retroactive to claim week ending April 4, 2020.
    • Last Payable Week: Claim Week Ending July 25, 2020
Extended Benefits (EB)

Program Expired December 12, 2020

EB Overview

Extended Benefits (EB) will allow up to an additional 16 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits. This is after a claimant has exhausted both their regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits of 20 weeks and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits of 13 weeks.

EB Eligibility

Extended Benefits is payable only after exhaustion of PEUC and other unemployment insurance benefits as explained below. During the period that PEUC is available, an individual must have exhausted PEUC entitlement before becoming eligible to receive EB. To qualify for EB, the individual must have:

  • Exhausted all rights to regular UI under state law;
  • No rights to regular UI with respect to any UI law of another state or Canada;
  • Exhausted PEUC;
  • Wages in the base period (with respect to the regular UI claim that was exhausted) that includes one of the following: (1) 20 weeks of full-time covered employment; (2) wages higher than 40 times the individual’s most recent weekly benefit amount; or (3) total wages in the base period equal to or greater than 1.5 times the highest quarter (see Section 202(a)(5), EUCA);
  • No disqualifications that would prevent the individual from being eligible for EB (see Section 202(a)(4), EUCA); and
  • At least one week in the benefit year that begins in an EB eligibility period (see Section 203(c), EUCA). This means your regular UI benefit year had to have ended on or after June 14, 2020 in order to be eligible for EB.

Not everyone who qualified for regular benefits or PEUC benefits qualifies for Extended Benefits. You may be found ineligible to receive EB:

  • If you were previously discharged/fired from your job due to misconduct or cause, you may have to return to work and earn specific amount prior to being eligible to receive EB.
  • If you did not exhaust your regular UI benefits prior to the Extended Benefits period, you may not be eligible for Extended Benefits.

EB Payments

Payment Amount: The weekly benefit amount of Extended Benefits is the same as you received for regular unemployment compensation or through the PEUC program.

Duration of Extended Benefits: Up to 16 weeks. 

EB Application Process

If you are eligible to apply for EB benefits, you will see a hyperlink listed on the Customer Menu page of your MyBenefits portal. Please remember you will only see the “Apply for Extended Benefits” link if you have already exhausted your 20 weeks of regular UI and 13 additional weeks of PEUC.

Apply for EB PDF Tutorial

Apply for EB Video Tutorial

What’s Next after I exhaust Extended Benefits?

After exhausting the Extended Benefits (EB) program, you may be eligible to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) if you are still unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19.

Which scenario do you fall under?

Scenario 1: Once you run out of eligible weeks for EB, you will need to apply for the PUA program. You will see a link on your Customer Menu page of your MyBenefits Portal asking you to apply for PUA. See PUA section above for resources and tutorials on how to apply for PUA.

Scenario 2: If you previously applied for PUA and have an open or pending resolution on that PUA claim, DEW staff will be reviewing your account to see if you are eligible to begin receiving PUA benefits after exhausting the EB program.

You will not need to reapply for PUA, however, you may be prompted with additional questions within your MyBenefits portal, so please continue to monitor daily.

Additional EB Resources

Read the Extended Benefits FAQ (PDF)

 

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)

Program Expired September 5, 2020 

LWA Overview

The Lost Wages Assistance Program will provide $300 per week, in addition to a claimant’s weekly benefit amount. The presidential memorandum outlines that an “eligible claimant” is someone who is eligible to receive $100 in either state or federal weekly benefit amount, someone who completes the weekly certification process and someone who is unemployed as a continued result of COVID-19.

Like all states who opted into the LWA program, South Carolina has been approved for six weeks of benefits. The weeks a claimant may be found eligible for the additional $300 per week is claim weeks ending August 1 - September 5, 2020. The maximum a claimant can receive is $1,800 for those six weeks. 

Unlike the CARES Act programs, the LWA program has a funding cap, which means once the allocated funding is exhausted, current or retroactive payments will no longer be available. FEMA has confirmed that available funding allocated to the DRF for LWA has been exhausted. This means there is no additional funding for states beyond the six weeks listed above.  

Also unlike the CARES Act programs, LWA requires states who pay LWA benefits fraudulently to repay that balance to FEMA. The repayment can not be paid by the state's UI Trust Fund, but would require to be allocated from the state's general budget. This puts a significant impact financially on all taxpayers in the state and is why additional fraud measures have been implemented with the LWA program. 


LWA Eligibility

To be eligible to receive the weekly $300 LWA funds, you must:

Be eligible for a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 for one of the following unemployment programs during the week in which you are seeking LWA funds:
  • State Unemployment Insurance (UI)
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Extended Benefits (EB)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA).
Certify that you were unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As stipulated by the President’s memorandum, claimants eligible to receive less than $100 per week in state or federal unemployment benefits will not be eligible to receive LWA funds and will only receive their weekly benefit amount for that week.

Additionally, you will not receive the LWA payment if you earn excessive wages for a claim week that results in you not receiving at least $1 of underlying state or federal unemployment benefits.

Direct communication has been sent to all claimants. If you are eligible to receive LWA benefits (see eligibility requirements above) you will see the "Identity Verification" and then "File Lost Wages Assistance Certification" on the Customer Menu page of your portal. If you do not see the link, this means you do not meet the basic eligibility requirements to apply. 

 

LWA Payments

Payment Amount: $300.

Duration of LWA Program: States approved for Lost Wages Assistance have been approved for claim weeks ending August 1 - September 5, 2020.  

First Payable Week: The LWA program is now available to apply for in the MyBenefits portal. Once an eligible claimant has successfully completed the ID verification and certification process, they can expect to receive their payment within 7-14 days. The LWA payment will be provided in a one-time lump sum for the weeks they are found eligible for. 

If you are found eligible for LWA benefits, there will be a payment notice on your portal homepage. However, if it has been several days and you have not received your mailed check, it may have been returned to our agency.

You should log into your MyBenefits portal, look for the “Change Personal Info” tab and confirm your address is correct. It is the claimant's responsibility to update contact information if it changes.

If you are having your mail forwarded to an address not in your MyBenefits portal the check WILL come back to the agency. Due to fraud integrity measures, checks cannot be forwarded. You will need to update your new address in your portal to receive your re-issued check.

If you were notified by our agency that your check was returned to DEW, and you have already requested a new check, it will not be reissued until you have updated your address in the system.

 

Additional LWA Resources

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) FAQs

ID Verification Process Guide

CSS Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Guide