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Updated : December 17th, 2020

South Carolina-logo
State: South Carolina (SC)
Phone Number:803.737.2400; Employment Service, Columbia Area: 803.737.5627 (JOBS); Employment Service, Lexington Area: 803.359.6131; Columbia Unemployment Office: 803.737.5627
Major Towns:Columbia, Charleston, North Charleston, Rock Hill, Mount Pleasant, Greenville, Summerville, Spartanburg, Sumter, and Goose Creek
Current Unemploymnet Rate in South Carolina

South Carolina Unemployment Questions

What is a Base Period?
The first four quarters of the last five completed calendar quarters establishes your base period. The effective date of your claim controls your base period—not the date you become unemployed. For instance, if your claim goes into effect during January, February, or March, then your base period is the first three quarters in the last year plus the last quarter of the previous year. Even if your claim takes effect March 31, the quarter’s last day, your base period consists of the first three quarters in last year plus the previous year’s last quarter.

What is the Waiting Period in SC?
When determined eligible for benefits, you must wait one week. During this week (the waiting period)you must be completely or partially unemployed, and you must all legal eligibility requirements. You will not receive benefits during the one-week waiting period.

SC Unemployment Fraud Claims Warning
Knowingly providing false information subjects you to legal action. Fines ranging from $20 to $100 and imprisonment up to 30 days that could be your fate. Each false statement or misrepresentation of the truth is considered a separate offense. As well, if the DEW finds you guilty of fraud, you’ll be ineligible to receive benefits for anywhere from 10 to 52 weeks. Always report all gross wages earned and keep accurate records. We check and compare all wages employers report to your benefits. We can collect overpayments from your tax refund through the SC Department of Revenue. We also add a $10 fee to collection efforts.

How does severance pay affect my benefits?
Your severance pay doesn’t affect your ability to file an unemployment claim. Nor is severance pay deducted from your weekly unemployment benefits.

Can I earn money while receiving benefits?
You can, but you must report all earnings. You may earn up to 1/4 your weekly benefit with no deduction in your unemployment check. You must report earnings during the week you work not when paid.

Do I have to pay taxes on unemployment benefits?
Yes. Taxes are withheld at the 10 percent federal rate and 7 percent state rate. When you file a claim for unemployment, you can elect to withhold taxes. At year-end, you’ll receive your 1099-G tax statement as will the IRS. Be sure to give us your new address if you move. Note: The IRS created a new electronic tax center on its website, for people whose income has deceased and are struggling financially.

What is South Carolina's taxable wage base per person?
Effective January 1, 2011, the taxable wage base for South Carolina is $10,000. Wages earned by each employee in excess of $10,000 are not taxable. The taxable wage base increases to $12,000 in 2012 and $14,000 in 2015.

When are quarterly Contribution and Wage Reports due?
Beginning January 1, 2011 South Carolina will use a traditional base period or an alternate base period to determine if an individual monetarily qualifies for unemployment insurance benefits. Because of the addition of an alternate base period, employers are requested to file their quarterly contribution and wage reports within 15 days after the quarter ends. The shorter reporting time is expected to reduce additional contacts to the employer from SCDEW’s staff, reduce paperwork and clerical costs for the employer, and expedite the claims filing process. This is currently a request as it requires legislative approval. The legal filing date continues to be the last day of the month following the end of a quarter.

Questions & Answers

  1. My daughter has been waiting for 2 months n still has recieved her lump sum why is it taking so long she has a child she needs her money she called several times thet keep telling her to wait. Why is that.

    1. Chasity,

      I can understand your situation. There will be a delay considering the number of applications that are being processed. Please continue chasing the office/check your status online at regular intervals until payments normalize.

  2. If my company offered an early retirement initiative and I have taken it… Does that allow me to qualify for employment while I try and find another job? says:

    If my company offered an early retirement initiative and I have taken it… Does that allow me to qualify for employment while I try and find another job?

    1. Please note UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. You can call the Unemployment Office to check about eligibility.

  3. I was in a wreck not my fault had to quit my job because I couldn’t do what I was doing
    can I draw unemployment

    I was in a wreck not my fault I had to quit my job because of injuries I was on my job for over 8 years can I get unemployment

  4. If you receive severance after being terminated on a bi weekly basis, when can you apply for benefits? I thought in SC that severance doesn’t affect unemployment.

  5. hello , I have just recently filed for some benefits, after steady looking for work for over a year but didn’t find any , so that’s why I,m fileing now 1/3/2018 and it said in the letter that I ‘m eligible for 0.00weekly/ 0.00maximum etc. as if to say that i did not work at all. what is the best thing do

  6. I applied for unemployment on 11/2/17 and my case is still pending resolution. What is the allowed time frame for a determination?

  7. I have worked for a resort for 2 years. they are closing the restaurant that I managed. I may work for them in other areas for 3 days a week. this is not enough to live on. can I get unemployment and work part time?

  8. Can employers in SC enter terms for an employee accepting a severance payment to waive the employee’s right to unemployment benefits?

  9. I worked all 2015 until Dec 20, & I received unemployment benefits Feb.2016 & half March. I still had $1800 I in my account or was eligible to receive. I started school back and a part time job were no taxes were taken out through Oct. 2016. Can I Reopen my claim and receive the remaining balance of $1800 I had ledt???

    1. It depends on multiple factors. Please call the Unemployment Office to ascertain if you can do so and apply for benefits accordingly.

  10. I was laid off because they said I was doing the job to the satisfactory due to my fractures shoulder and hurneated disk.

    1. If you were laid off due to voluntary reasons, you will not be eligible.

      If the injury is work-related, please explore the benefits under Workers Comp. scheme.

  11. I worked as a sales consultant for a national home builder and was recently fired due to circumstances beyond my control. The builder is headquartered out of Houston, TX (where my W-2/pay came from). I was hired and managed by our NC Division, but worked in a new home community located in SC. Would I file for unemployment in TX, NC or SC? Thanks!

    1. Please apply from the state where your payroll was based.

      You may want to contact your employer and confirm before applying for benefits.

  12. I am working on a Outage in NC I have a week left, prior I was working in Florida and still have a lease on a apt that I must finish up before I can move back home to SC. Where will I be able to draw my unemployment from?

  13. I work as a teacher in a child care center in Columbia SC. The flood disallowed working for one week. Is it true that I , like others,can apply to scunemployment for / to get some of lost wages?

  14. My position of over 14 years was eliminated on May 23rd. Thus, I was forced into early retirement. I do not want to fully retire and am able to work. I will be filing for unemployment as I will need income. My questions are:
    – Do I have to accept any job that is offered – real question is do I have to accept full time jobs at substantially less than my previous job?
    – If I go to work part-time during the interim, does that count against my benefit?

    Thank you for your help1

    1. 1) You have to accept any suitable job offer that come your way.

      2) You can work part time,your benefit will be reduced.

  15. Due to medical conditions I am not fit to continue with the career that I have been doing for the past sixteen years. I have been advised by doctors and specialists that my condition will continually progress. Am I eligible for benefits while I am seeking another career path; since I will have to leave the company I am currently working for?

    1. Depends. UI is extended to those who are able and available to work.

      If you quit your current job and decide to look for one that suits your health condition,please consider applying for benefits

  16. I worked for Safe-Ports Inc. for the past 3 1/2 years. I was working on a project in Afghanistan. Safe-Ports is based in South Carolina and I they did pay unemployment benefits. am currently in the Philippines. I am trying to apply on line for my benefits. I am unable to access the server from here. What do I need to do to be able to sign up for unemployment? I am a naturalized American Citizen born in the U.S. How can I access the benefits portal to register from here?

    1. Some of the state Labor websites are accessible only from a server in the US which means that if you’re outside,you will not be able to log on.

      You can perhaps ask a family member or a friend residing in the US to file on behalf on your behalf.

    1. 1099G is a document providing details of unemployment compensation disbursed for taxation.Please call up the claims center immediately if you’ve not received the mentioned amount.

  17. I work as a Reservist for FEMA. I must be on call at all times. I worked Jan/ Feb and then again Sept/ Oct. Am I eligible for UI when not working. I can not seek a job because of the new rule of being on call.

  18. I work a seasonal job in s.c. where I work 5 months of the year and draw unemployment the remainder. This year i am being told I must exhaust the federal EUC benefits from the prior year before I can receive regular employment benefits. It has been 3 weeks and I still have not received any payment. I have spoken with DEW CSR several times and still cannot get resolve. The benefits from the prior year are over $100.00 less a week than I should be receiving. Help. Is this correct?

  19. 20 yr old grandson quit work yesterday because owner shoved him and called him “a piece of sh$$”. The owner was very drunk. There were witnesses. Grandson had worked there for 6 1/2 months. Is there anything my grandson can do? Is he eligible for unemployment?

    1. Hi Dee,

      It is important to have worked under covered employment and earned sufficient wages in the base period to receive unemployment compensation. Your grandson may be eligible for the compensation if he fulfills all the requirements.

  20. I have been working in SC since January 2013. I lost my job – laid off – and do not have any other income from 2 years past as I am awaiting a disability hearing and was healing from back surgery. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

  21. This is obsurd! My husband has filed for unempliynent been approved he has received one check still waiting on two checks the bad thing is no one picks up phone or when we leave message no one calls back . Left email no response .
    When we went to office they said matter resolved . But yet no money deposited .
    Is there a another contact. Besides charleston office . I need money and know one is helping
    We qualified for unemployment. Please some one help with this matter
    Thank you

  22. I work for a retirement planner and we are trying to help a client who has recently lost her job. Can you please explain how drawing retirement payments can affect her unemployment payments?

  23. Was working as contract RN @ Village Hospital Greer SC since Feb 4, 2013. Contract was terminated because did not feel I was learning job quick enough. Am 61 yr old & do have vision & other health issues. I have no income & need help. Can not pay rent this month, can not pay utilities this month, need prescription medications, & have no food. Please help me! I am about to become homeless. Have always worked & never received assistance. HELP ME PLEASE!

  24. If my company shuts down for two consecutive weeks am i able to receive unemployment benefits for these two weeks.thanks….keith

  25. I was fired today because corporate forced my boss today I had worked at Harris teeter for the last 20 years

  26. If in case you were eligible and obtaining the unemployment benefit then you will be able to get the benefit in the relocated state also…

    As a basic criteria to get the unemployment benefit you should not have been left your earlier job without good cause… if not you will not be eligible…

  27. If I move from another state to relocate in South Carolina, Can I collect unemploymet? I would leave my job now on my own.

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