How To File For South Carolina Unemployment

This page provides information on how to file for unemployment in South Carolina. If you lost your job or your hours were reduced at no fault of your own, you may qualify to receive unemployment benefits in your state. Review the information below, if you still have questions or issues about these benefits, then we suggest to contact your local South Carolina Unemployment Department for assistance. It is important that you file your new claim right away because South Carolina unemployment insurance are not retroactive.

Apply for South Carolina unemployment benefits

Your first step is to submit an initial claim in order for DEW to determine if your circumstances meet the eligibility requirements of the UI program. Filing a claim is the only way for eligibility to be determined. Initial claims are filed online through the MyBenefits portal.

Once you have submitted your application, DEW will review your claim and determine if you qualify for benefits. Within a week after applying, you will receive a Monetary Determination by mail outlining your potential weekly and maximum benefits amounts. The maximum weekly benefit amount in South Carolina is $326 before taxes. A Monetary Determination only outlines your monetary eligibility, and does not mean that you meet all eligibility requirements.

You may be asked to submit certain types of information to DEW in order to determine if you are eligible to receive benefits. This can be competed through the upload feature in the benefits portal, faxed or emailed. For more information on how to do this, please contact 866-831-1724.

You should receive a final eligibility decision by mail within 21 days of receiving the Monetary Determination. If you are deemed eligible, please note that you will not be paid for the first week of eligibility in each benefit year; this is considered a waiting week. You may check your benefit status via MyBenefits or TelClaim.

When applying for benefits, you will choose to receive benefit payments by debit card or direct deposit. Please note that you are required to pay taxes on UI benefits. The information you provide DEW when filing a claim for UI is held confidential but may be shared with other state and/or federal agencies administering unemployment insurance programs or other government programs.

If you need assistance applying for benefits, claims representatives are available through Telclaim at 866-831-1724 from 8am to 4pm weekdays. Filing your claim will go faster if you have the following important information handy:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your work history for the past 18 months including the employers business names, employers addresses, employers phone numbers and your salary for each employer
  • If you are not a US citizen, your alien registration number and documentation
  • If you served in the military in the past 18 months, DD-214 Form (Member 4 copy)
  • If you are a federal civilian employee, SF-50 or SF-8 Form

South Carolina unemployment benefits eligibility requirements

To determine if you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits, you must file an initial claim with DEW. Filing a claim is the only way for eligibility to be determined. The department will review your claim and determine if you meet the requirements to receive benefits. Employers finance the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program through tax contributions. It is not welfare, and funds are not withheld from your pay for these benefits.

Situational Requirements

These requirements are a general guideline, and the outcome of your claim depends on your specific situation.

  • You're unemployed. (If you currently work less than full time due to being out of work and earn less than your weekly benefit amount, you're still considered unemployed. When filing your weekly claim, report all work you performed and wages earned that week. Continue to seek full-time work.)
  • It was not your fault you lost your job from your most recent employer
  • You're able to work
  • You're available for work and willing to take any suitable offer
  • You report to your local comprehensive SC Works center as required
  • You must actively search for suitable work each week that you file a weekly certification for unemployment insurance benefits. Suitable work includes any trade, occupation, or business in which you are qualified based on your training or experience, and which pays at least 90% of your previous salary during your first eight paid weeks of unemployment and 75% of your previous salary after eight paid weeks of unemployment
  • You must complete at least two work searches through SC Works Online Services each week that you file a certification
Monetary Requirements

To be monetarily eligible for UI benefits, you must:

  • Have at least $1,092 in covered employment (with an employer who paid UI taxes) during the base period's highest quarter
  • Have earned at least $4,455 from covered employment during the base period
  • 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.

Weekly Benefit Amount

A weekly benefit amount is the amount of money you are paid each week that you are found eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Wages you earned during one year of insured work, also known as the base period, determine your weekly benefit amount. Generally, wages earned from construction, factory work, mills, shops, stores, offices, banks, mines and other businesses employing one or more people count.

South Carolina law does not cover certain farm labor, certain domestic services in private homes and several other employment types. Please note, you are responsible for paying income taxes on all unemployment benefits received. DEW does not automatically withhold federal and state taxes from your weekly payment.


Even when sufficient wages qualify you for benefits, other reasons can disqualify you including:

  • Leaving work voluntarily without good cause
  • Being discharged for misconduct connected with employment
  • Being discharged for cause, other than misconduct
  • Refusing to accept a suitable job offer from an SC Works center or employer
  • Voluntarily retiring
  • Becoming unemployed as a party to a labor dispute
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 base 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.

Unemployment benefits payment options

When you submit your initial claim, you will choose if you want to receive benefit payments via debit card or direct deposit.

Debit Card

Prepaid debit cards can be used anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. There are no fees when you use your card for purchase from a merchant. Many grocery and convenience stores also offer cash back, without a fee, when you make a purchase. In addition to getting cash back with a purchase, you can get cash from ATMs and from tellers at banks that accept Visa cards; however, fees may apply. No fee applies to obtaining a card, but fees may apply for certain transactions. Use your card carefully to avoid fees.

Direct Deposit

Benefit payments should be directly deposited within two to three business days from the payment date upon account verification. They will notify you if your bank rejects your account information. In case of rejection, contact your bank, not DEW, to get the correct direct deposit information.

Requesting A Different Payment Method

To change how you receive payments, login to MyBenefits, go to Manage My Profile and click Change Benefit Payment Method.

File an appeal

When you file for unemployment benefits, the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) investigates the claim. The agency will contact you and your former employer and then issue a letter detailing its initial finding on your eligibility for benefits. The letter will list any points of law it considered in making the determination.

If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to file an appeal. Each determination letter contains detailed appeal rights and information, make sure to read this information thoroughly. Your former employer, or any employer whose unemployment insurance tax account is affected by your claim, can also appeal the decision. And if you disagree with the decision upon appeal, you can take your claim to the Appellate Panel. This must occur within 10 calendar days of the mailing date listed on the appeal decision.

It is important that you continue to file your claim for benefits while an appeal is pending. Continuing to file for weekly unemployment benefits gives you credit for weeks between when the appeal was filed and the decision. Failure to file may result in the loss of benefits, even if you win the appeal.

You may file an appeal by completing a Notice of Appeal to the Appeal Tribunal Form (APP-100) or writing an appeal letter detailing your disagreement with the determination. Your appeal form or letter must include your name and Social Security number. By law you must file your appeal within 10 calendar days of the mailing date listed on the determination. If the 10th day falls on a weekend or recognized holiday, the appeal period extends to the next business day.

All appeal documents (APP-100, APP-107 and APP-111) must contain the handwritten signature of the party completing the document before they will be accepted. After completing the appropriate document please print, sign and return it to DEW’s Appeals Division via fax or regular mail at the address or number provided on the form and below.

SC Department of Employment and Workforce
Appeal Tribunal
P.O. Box 995
Columbia, SC 29202

Fax: 803-737-0287