South Carolina Unemployment

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Unemployment Eligibility and Qualifications

General Benefits Eligibility Criteria

You must meet specific eligibility criteria in order to qualify for unemployment insurance benefits in South Carolina. As a working employee, you are covered by unemployment insurance if you meet all South Carolina unemployment benefits eligibility requirements. If you do not meet all requirements, you may be denied unemployment insurance benefits. The best way to find out if you are eligible is to file an application.  You must meet both work and wages criteria, which are detailed below.

Work Eligibility Criteria

You meet the work eligibility criteria for South Carolina unemployment benefits if you:

  • Are unemployed or working part-time
  • Are out of work through no fault of your own  
  • Are physically able and available to start work immediately
  • Report to an SC Works Center as directed (If you cannot get to the center when expected, call TelClaim at 1.866.831.1724 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Your benefits could still be withheld if you do not report as required.)
  • Actively seek full-time or part-time work every week*

*If you already work part-time while receiving benefits, you are only required to seek part-time employment.

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Wages Eligibility Criteria

You meet the wages eligibility criteria for South Carolina unemployment benefits if you:

  • Earned at least 8 times your Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) through your most recent employer
  • Were paid at least $1,092 in wages in the highest earning calendar quarter of your base period
  • Earned a minimum of $4,455 during your total base period
  • Received at least 1.5 times your highest earning quarter during your total base period

Unemployment Availability Limits

The Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA) you can receive is $326 per week for 20 weeks per calendar year, but many applicants receive less than the maximum. The least amount of unemployment insurance benefits you could be eligible to receive is $42 per week. If your weekly benefits would fall below $42, you will not receive any benefits. If you qualify for the MBA, the most you could receive is $6,520 over five months. When you find employment working 32 hours or more per week, you will no longer be eligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits. Other things that might disqualify you include:

  • Quitting your job without good cause
  • Being discharged for misconduct
  • Being discharged for an employment-related cause (you could be disqualified for 5 to 20 weeks)
  • Refusing a job offer
  • Being unemployed due to a labor dispute
  • Giving false information or withholding information (punishable by imprisonment and/or fines)

Unemployment Extensions

There are currently no unemployment insurance benefit extensions available in South Carolina. In conditions when the statewide unemployment rate reaches 6 percent or higher, the maximum unemployment benefit period and/or amount may be extended. The South Carolina DEW will make formal announcements when unemployment insurance extensions are in effect and available to qualified unemployed workers.