South Dakota Unemployment

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Unemployment Compensation and Requirements

Unemployment Compensation

Unemployment compensation is intended to give temporary relief to people who are out of work. You must have earned wages, been employed by an employer who paid taxes into the system, and be unemployed through no fault of your own. Below is a guideline to how the amount of benefits are determined but the best way to find out is to apply with accurate information.

Max Weekly Benefit Amt.


Max Weeks of Benefits


Max Benefit Amount


Calculating South Dakota Unemployment Benefit Amounts

Determine Your Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA)

Your weekly benefit is one-twenty sixth (1/26) of the wages paid in the highest quarter of the base period (explained below), up to a maximum amount determined by the state's average weekly wage. Wages in the high quarter must be at least seven hundred and twenty-eight dollars ($728.00). Wages in the other three quarters of the base period must be at least twenty (20) times the weekly benefit.

The first four (4) of the last five (5) quarters prior to the date of the new UI Benefits claim determines your base period. The last four (4) completed quarters before the claim is filed is the alternative base period. For persons who are not eligible monetarily due to a being out of work due to work-related injury, they have a special base period . This special base period is only available to be used if a UI Benefits claim is filed within twenty-four (24) months of the injury. The Base Period chart is a great resource to understand how base periods work.

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There is a special base period for persons who are not monetarily eligible because they have not worked for an extended period due to a work-related injury. This base period can only be used if a claim is filed within twenty-four (24) months after the injury. There are no exclusions from eligibility for ex-convicts.

If you file your claim in May, your base period is the previous January through December. However, if you are not monetarily eligible using the regular base period, your base period would be the previous April through March.

You may qualify for a Combined Wage Claim if you worked and earned wages in two or more states. To use employment and wages earned in a state other than South Dakota you should report work performed in any state in the last eighteen (18) months, including federal employment and military, on your claim form.

Federal employees and military employees are eligible for South Dakota UI Benefits.

If you currently live in South Dakota but previously worked in another state other than South Dakota, you can file an interstate claim in the state where you worked and earned wages the last eighteen (18) months. In most states, you can file your claim by calling the state directly.

The first question many people ask is, “how will I know if I meet the wage requirement?” Within about ten (10) days of filing your new claim, you will receive a determination listing your benefit amounts. Complications with wage discrepancies,  missing wages, federal wages, out of state wages, and military wages can cause delays in the determination.

If you have not received a monetary determination after two (2) weeks you should contact the Benefit Section at (605) 626-2452 and ask for a status update.

If you are ineligible because of insufficient wages, you can file again in next calendar quarter.

Determine Your Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA)

The maximum benefit amount is determined by the state's average weekly wage. Currently the maximum weekly amount is three hundred and sixty-six dollars ($366.00).