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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

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Benefits Eligibility Requirements

What are the Monetary Requirements?

Within a week after applying for unemployment benefits you will receive a Monetary Determination by mail. A copy will also be available for you in your MyBenefits portal under the documents tab. A Monetary Determination outlines your monetary eligibility, and does not mean that you meet all eligibility requirements.

To be monetarily eligible for UI benefits, you must:

  1. Have at least $1,092 in covered employment (with an employer who paid UI taxes) during the base period’s* highest quarter.
  2. Have earned at least $4,455 from covered employment during the base period*.
  3. Have total base period* wages that are equal to, or exceed, 1.5 times the high quarter wages’ total.

*The base period is defined as wages earned doing one year of insured work. Base-period wages typically establish monetary eligibility for UI benefits. There are two method’s used when calculating the base period: the standard base period and the alternate base period, both described below. When your initial claim is reviewed, DEW will decide which base period system your situation falls under. You will not have to determine this yourself.

Learn more regarding weekly benefit amounts.

The Base Period

The base period is defined as wages earned doing one year of insured work. Base-period wages typically establish monetary eligibility for UI benefits. There are two methods used when calculating the base period: the standard base period and the alternative base period. When your initial claim is reviewed, DEW will decide which base period system your situation falls under. You will not have to determine this yourself.

The Standard Base Period

The standard base period comprises the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters preceding a claim’s starting date. Your claim’s effective date determines your based period – not the date you become unemployed. For example, if your claim goes into effect during January, February, or March 2016, your base period is the first three quarters of 2015 plus the last quarter of 2014; even if your claim takes effect March 31, the last day of the quarter.

Alternate Base Period

If you don’t qualify for UI benefits using the standard base period, you may qualify using the alternate base period.

The alternate base period includes the four most recently completed calendar quarters, including lag quarter wages — the most recently completed quarter preceding a new claim’s effective date.

To use the alternate base period, no wages from federal, military or out-of-state employment can be missing.