SC DEW says quarantine does not qualify for unemployment

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina’s Department of Employment and Workforce says you do not qualify for unemployment benefits if you are quarantined due to the pandemic.

If you’re quarantined due to the virus, have to stay home to care for children or if you’re self-employed, you don’t qualify.

The agency says you must be both willing and able to work to receive unemployment benefits. Under state law and UI program parameters, a person must be able and available to work. If they are able but unavailable due to quarantine, or child care, they don’t qualify under normal UI.

The Department of Employment and Workforce says it’s waiting on federal funding, which could help some people, like Paul Keller, who has been out of work for the last two weeks.

“Not having no income coming in, I have a family to take care of. It will take a grown man and put him on his knees quick, I’ll just say it that way,” said Keller who is an assistant manager to Family Dollar.

Heather Biance with the DEW said, “Just like during the recession, we had to wait for federal guidance and funding (DUA) Disaster Unemployment Assistance to arrive and expand eligibility and provide additional financial coverage. This time it’s PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance). Also please keep in mind, funding has not arrived in SC and we have not been provided a date of when that funding is set to arrive.”

Biance said self-Employed, for example, can be tricky because the UI program is paid for by taxes paid by businesses. “If someone doesn’t pay into the UI program, eligibility opportunities are limited under SC law. Our understanding is that the CARES Act will be retroactive so even if you’re initially denied by normal UI, assistance is expected under the act.”

Expanded eligibility details so far are listed here.

The department encourages people who are unsure of whether or not they will qualify to submit an application; even if they’re denied, they will be in the system which should speed up the process once federal funds are available.

“We are asking people to continue to reach out via the TelClaim number and access information through their portal,” Biance said.


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