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Filing for Unemployment in SC - A Step-by-Step Guide!

07 May, 2020

Step 1: Check Eligibility!

Check this fact sheet to see if you might be eligible: [Click here]

Step 2: Submit an initial claim to verify eligibility!

Your first step is to submit an initial claim in order for DEW to determine if your circumstances meet the eligibility requirements of the UI program. Filing a claim is the only way for eligibility to be determined.

File and initial claim here. If you do not already have an account, you’ll have to register before logging in to complete the form.


  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, you’ll need to provide your alien registration number and documentation.[MW1] 
  • If you served in the military in the past 18 months, DD-214 Form (Member 4 copy).
  • If you are a federal civilian employee, SF-50 or SF-8 Form.
  • If you are filing from out-of-state click here.

For a step-by step guide on filing this initial claim, you can use this resource [Click here]

You can also call this number for assistance! 1-866-831-1724 – but call during their normal hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays (Monday through Friday).

Step 3: Determine if you qualify for benefits!

Once you have submitted your application, DEW will review your claim and determine if you qualify for benefits.

Within a week after applying, you will receive a Monetary Determination by mail outlining your potential weekly and maximum benefits amounts. The maximum weekly benefit amount in South Carolina is $326 before taxes.

NOTE: A Monetary Determination only outlines your monetary eligibility, and does not mean that you meet all eligibility requirements.

You may be asked to submit certain types of information to DEW in order to determine if you are eligible to receive benefits. This can be competed through the upload feature in the benefits portal, faxed or emailed. For more information on how to do this, please contact 1-866-831-1724.

You should receive a final eligibility decision by mail within 21 days of receiving the Monetary Determination. If you are deemed eligible, please note that you will not be paid for the first week of eligibility in each benefit year; this is considered a waiting week.

You may check your benefit status via MyBenefits or TelClaim.

Step 4: Although it may be difficult or impossible to find work during the coronavirus crisis, you will still need to register for work!

Register for work

Within two weeks of submitting your initial claim, you must register for work on SC Works Online Services. This includes creating a username and password within the system. If you fail to do so, you won’t receive payment.

You also must update your resume on SC Works Online Services every 90 days to continue receiving payment.

Step 5: “Search” for work.

To receive your unemployment benefits, you’ll need to conduct at least two (2) job searches each week through SC Works Online Services (SCWOS). You will be ineligible for benefits and not receive payment in any week in which you fail to perform two (2) job searches through SCWOS.

You may receive a waiver from the requirement to perform at least two (2) weekly job searches through SCWOS for good cause. Good cause includes, but is not limited to, verifiable electronic access and/or language barriers, and is determined by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us at 1-866-831-1724 if there are verifiable circumstances that would prevent you from being able to perform job searches on SCWOS.

You can register for work:

  • Online— If you file your initial claim on MyBenefits, the confirmation page will provide you with a username and password for SC Works Online Services. Use this information to log in and create a resume. Once you have an active resume on file, you are officially registered for work. 

If you are not given a username and password, you still will have to register for work on SC Works Online Services. Just click on “Not Registered?” and the system will take you through the process. Once you have a username, password and an active resume on file, you are officially registered for work.

  • At an SC Works center near you— If you don’t have computer access, you can register online using a computer at one of many service locations across the state[MW2] .

To set up your account, just visit and click on the “Not Registered” link in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Then login with your username and password. If you already have a username and password but need help remembering them, a link to recover those is also in the top right-hand corner of the screen. If you need help registering or using the site, please contact us at 1-866-831-1724. Also to reset your password for your original username, click on the “Forgot username/password?” link on the SC Works Online Services page. If you need help navigating SC Works Online Services to ensure your work searches are being documented correctly, view the Work Search Guide.

Check out these online videos for more step-by-step instructions!

 But how is this process different if I lost my job due to coronavirus shut downs?

  • ·         The Department of Employment Workforces states: “If your work is affected by COVID-19, you can apply for Unemployment Insurance. This process and these benefits are the same as applying for benefits if you lose your job through no fault of your own.”
    • ·         So basically, you follow the same steps listed above for general unemployment

What about the government bailout?

  • The plan is for individuals to get up to $1,200 and married couples to get up to $2,400, plus an additional $500 for each child. The size of a check would diminish gradually for those whose income is above $75,000, while individuals earning more than $99,000 and couples earning more than $198,000 will not be getting any checks. The checks will be based on a household or individual’s 2018 tax return unless they filed their 2019 tax return, in which case it will be based of their 2019 return.
  • The treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said last week that checks could be sent out as early as 6 April. The bill earmarks $250bn for the checks.
  • Unemployment benefits will grow substantially and go to many more Americans.
  • Lawmakers agreed to a significant expansion of unemployment benefits that would extend jobless insurance by 13 weeks and include a four-month enhancement of benefits. At the insistence of Democrats, the program was broadened to include freelancers, furloughed employees and gig workers, such as Uber drivers.

Are there any other resources specific to South Carolina?

  • South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center has additional resources about unemployment, food resources, immigration enforcement, etc. and how they have changed due to coronavirus:

See some unemployment information from their website pasted below:


  • You should apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI) even if you're not sure if you're eligible.
  • The highest weekly benefit in South Carolina is $326
  • The average payment is around $247.
  • If COVID-19 made your employer lay you off or reduce your hours, you can get help. You can apply for UI through the SC Department of Workforce and Employment SCDEW. If you’re applying for UI between March 15 and April 18, the process has changed. You will not have to wait a week or do two job searches per week to receive benefits.


  • If you’re out of work because your employer shuts down
  • If you are forced to stay home because you’ve been infected or worried you may be infected
  • If you are working reduced hours you may be eligible for partial UI


  • If you left work because you are infected or are at risk.
  • If you left work because you’re caring for a sick family member.
  • People will not be eligible for unemployment if they are still paid from their employee benefits, such as sick leave or paid vacation time.


  • Employers who have a temporary shutdown, can apply for the benefits for their workers who have been laid off or had their hours cut back. These workers can receive six weeks of unemployment, without having to search for another job. This is different from standard unemployment insurance. For more information, employers need to contact SCDEW.
  • Employers won’t be charged directly when claims due to COVID-19 are filed.
  • The deadline for paying unemployment insurance taxes for Q1 2020 has been extended from April 30 to June 1, but quarterly wage reports must still be filed by April 30.



  • You can file a complaint with the Human Affairs Commission or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

 [MW1]Need to get more information on this! It would also be good if we could translate this page to Spanish. I couldn’t find much language support online.

 [MW2]Doesn’t seem like this is an option now… need to search for other options

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