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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and now Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program expands Unemployment Insurance (UI) eligibility and provides additional funding to individuals in South Carolina.

We continue to update our website with the latest information for individuals and employers. If you need instructions on how to apply for benefits, click here.  Before you call to speak with a representative, please check out our website and ChatBot to see if your questions can be answered online.

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Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) - PROGRAM EXPIRED

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

Additional Resources 

UI During COVID-19 FAQ
 
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Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

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.

PUA Eligibility

If you have been deemed monetarily ineligible for regular Unemployment Insurance, 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.

This is the first step in the process to receive federal funds coming from the CARES Act. You are still potentially eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) which is provided through this Act for individuals who were not previously eligible for unemployment benefits. If you are eligible under PUA, the benefits will be paid retroactively.

*If you have already appealed the denial of benefits, our system will dismiss the appeal so that you can proceed with the PUA process when our agency notifies you.

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 February 8, 2020
  • Last Payable Week: Claim Week Ending December 26, 2020

PUA Application Process

If you have not filed a regular Unemployment Insurance claim during the current quarter (April-June 2020), you may be required to file a new regular UI claim first before being able to file for PUA. The system will take your PUA claim information during the regular UI claim filing process.

UI Application with PUA PDF Instructions (process if you filed in the previous quarter)
PUA Applications Instructions (process if you filed in the current quarter)
Video Instructions

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.

Am I eligible for PUA after I exhaust Extended Benefits?

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

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 resources in this section for tutorials on how to apply for PUA.

Scenario 2: If you previously applied for PUA and have an open or pending resolution on your 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 PUA Resources

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance FAQ
NEW Weekly Certification Question Added for PUA Claimants

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

Questions? Our Chatbot can help!
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

 

PEUC Overview

PEUC is a temporary program that provides up to 13 additional weeks of payments to individuals who have exhausted their 20 weeks of regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.

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) https://jobs.scworks.org/vosnet/Default.aspx. 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.
  • Duration of PEUC Benefits (additional 13 weeks)
    • First Payable Week: Retroactive to week ending April 4, 2020 (or the first week after an individual exhausts regular UI, whichever is later).
    • Last Payable Week: Week Ending December 26, 2020.

PEUC Application Process

The “apply for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation” link will only be available to those who have exhausted their 20 weeks of 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

PEUC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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

Click to learn how to apply for Unemployment Benefits
Extended Benefits (EB)

 

EB Overview

Eligible claimants must exhaust both their regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits of 20 weeks and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits of 13 weeks before becoming eligible for 10 weeks of Extended Benefits (EB). 

UPDATED October 2020: The United States Department of Labor has notified the South Carolina Department of Workforce that South Carolina's unemployment rate fell below the 8.0% threshold necessary to remain on a High Unemployment Period in Extended Benefits (EB).

The High Unemployment Period will end October 10, 2020. Beginning October 11, 2020, the maximum potential entitlement for claimants in the EB program will decrease from 16 weeks to 10 weeks.

For claimants who have received more than the maximum 10 weeks of Regular Extended Benefits, their last payable week will be the week ending October 10, 2020.  For claimants who have not received more than the maximum 10 weeks of regular Extended Benefits, their benefits will be reduced to an amount not to exceed 10 weeks.

Claimants who have exhausted EB, may be eligible to continue benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Please see section below “What’s Next After I exhaust Extended Benefits?”

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 10 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

EB Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



  
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)

 

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. 


Additional LWA Resources

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) FAQs

ID Verification Process Guide

CSS Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Guide





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