SC Dept. of Employment and Workforce pays out $10m in unemployment benefits

Coronavirus

The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) paid out around $10 million in unemployment benefits between March 29 and April 2, according to a news release.

“We know this is much needed financial support for South Carolinians, and this is just the beginning of the benefits that will continue to flow into the state’s economy,” Dan Ellzey, executive director of the DEW said.

“We have been getting thousands of questions about the recently passed legislation, and I want to assure you that on Saturday, March 28, Gov. McMaster and I signed documentation to accept federal funds on behalf of South Carolina.”

The DEW said they are still waiting on guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor to implement the funds, but they are encouraging anyone that lost their job due to COVID-19 to apply.

“I want to clarify that if you are already receiving benefits, you will not lose your $600 weekly addition,” Ellzey said.

“When we receive the federal funding, it will be applied to your account retroactively beginning with claims filed for the week ending on April 4.”

Employees who believe they are qualified for the additional $600 weekly benefit can file a claim, and will need to log in to their account once a week to verify they are still unemployed.

“Although the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce does not yet have technical guidance or a start date for the CARES Act provisions, there are many types of individuals who would not normally qualify for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed workers, that could be eligible under a program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA),” DEW said.

Individuals who may be eligible include:

  • Individuals who file a 1099
  • Self-employed
  • Church employees
  • Non-profit and governmental employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Gig economy workers
  • Those who have exhausted their regular UI benefits

“If you are one of these individuals, have applied for unemployment insurance benefits, and were not found eligible, you may be eligible for weekly benefits provided for under the CARES Act,” DEW said.

“We anticipate the system will recognize the date of your filing and determine your eligibility and whether additional information will be needed from you prior to retroactive payments being made.”

Those individuals must also meet one of these conditions:

  • The individual has been diagnosed; or
  • A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed; or
  • The individual is providing care to a household or family member; or a child or other person for which the individual has primary care-giving responsibility and is unable to attend school or another facility as a result of COVID-19; or
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency; or
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine; or
  • The individual was scheduled to start work and does not have a job as a result of COVID-19; or
  • The individual has become “the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19”; or
  • The individual has to quit their job because of COVID-19; or
  • The individual’s place of employment is closed because of COVID-19.

DEW notes this list is not exhaustive. Claims can be filed online by clicking the MyBenefits Portal on the agency’s website, or by calling 1-866-831-1724. The DEW is asking for patience while filing a claim.

Instructions on how to file can be found here.

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