Unemployment / South Carolina

South Carolina Unemployment: 5 Things You Need to Know

Written by Ben Tejes
Updated Oct 4th, 2022

You may be facing unemployment in South Carolina and are concerned how you will pay for bills, cover rent each month and get by with little to no money.

Thankfully, South Carolina does have unemployment insurance that helps in times of needs, but are you eligible for the weekly benefit between $42 to $326? Will unemployment cover your expenses? What are your chances of hardship?

Here's what we will cover in this article:

  1. Provide an estimate for how much you will get in South Carolina, the duration of your unemployment, and your estimated eligibility.
  2. Explain the process to file a claim in South Carolina.
  3. Show how to maintain eligibility.
  4. Explain the South Carolina appeals and denial process.
  5. Provide financial hardship options in South Carolina.

There are many reasons why someone may be unemployed. Unemployment can be caused by termination of employment, furlough, layoffs, or by resignation. All these options have various levels of severity and several reasons why they would happen. Typically, unemployment insurance (UI) kicks in to help financially if you have been relieved of work duties to no fault of your own. Such as a layoff or being furloughed. In some instances, you can still claim and receive unemployment benefits if you were fired. 

1) How Much Will I Make From Unemployment? Use The South Carolina Unemployment Calculator

One of the most important questions to understand is how much you will receive from your unemployment benefit in South Carolina and how long you will receive it. The State of South Carolina Unemployment Department has a system for determining how much your weekly UI amount will be. The calculator will also help estimate the maximum length of time that you can receive unemployment in South Carolina which is 20 weeks.

As such, please feel free to use the South Carolina unemployment calculator below to estimate your benefit amount.There are several factors that go into determining that amount. If you are curious about how much you will make you can take our unemployment calculator below. These are just estimates based on the official South Carolina unemployment calculations, as we strive to make sure that our data is as accurate as possible.  

Am I Eligible?

You should contact your local South Carolina unemployment office for clarification and verification of eligibility if this applies to you.  

For your reference, here is the South Carolina unemployment eligibility language: To be monetarily eligible for UI benefits, you must: Have at least $1,092 in covered employment (with an employer who paid UI taxes) during the base period’s* highest quarter. Have earned at least $4,455 from covered employment during the base period*. Have total base period* wages that are equal to, or exceed, 1.5 times the high quarter wages’ total.

How Is It Determined whether I receive to

Generally, it will be based on a weekly benefit amount that has specific calculations tied to it. Our article covering how much is unemployment in South Carolina shows how the benefits are calculated, but here are some sources that can help explain the process to you.

You may be able to determine how the unemployment calculations works in South Carolina by visiting this link.

In addition, this South Carolina government unemployment estimator can help you estimate the weekly benefit amount and the length as well.


2) How To File A Claim in South Carolina 

The process to file a claim for unemployment compensation in South Carolina is straight forward. 

You can start to file your South Carolina unemployment claim here

To get started filling your claim plan to spend about 45 minutes to 1 hour on it. You can often either file online or by calling your local unemployment center at 866-831-1724. You may need to have the following information available prior to starting your claim:  

  • Your name, Social Security number, birthdate and contact information. 
  • Your complete work history for the past 18 months (about 1 and a half years) including: 
  • employer name(s) 
  • address(es) 
  • phone number(s) 
  • start and end dates of employment for each employer 
  • Your bank account and routing number if you want to sign up for direct deposit. 

If you need assistance filing your claim, you may also search the official website for videos or FAQs.

How Long Does It Take to Get Unemployment in South Carolina? 

The process to receive your first unemployment payment in South Carolina takes about from the date that you filed your initial claim. 

After you file your initial claim, you will need to continue filling regular weekly claim each week that you would like to receive benefits. Keep in mind that there me be a mandatory 1-week waiting period that you will not receive benefits for. 

The waiting week is the first week you file a weekly claim and meet all eligibility requirements. Before you can start receiving benefits, South Carolina law requires one waiting week per claim. You will not be paid any money for the week, but claiming the week is required to receive credit for it as a waiting week.  

You may be able to find the status of your unemployment on South Carolina’s unemployment page.

How do I contact the South Carolina Unemployment Office? 

The South Carolina Unemployment Department has several options to contact them. You can either call their main phone number at 866-831-1724, or you can contact your local unemployment office.

Please note that the following are the unemployment office hours: Monday - Friday from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm (EST)

Weekly Benefits and Getting Paid 

Following the conclusion of your waiting week, you will start receiving weekly benefits for the weeks that you claimed to not have worked. You may be able to receive the benefits from the following method:

  • Check by mail 
  • Direct deposit  
  • Prepaid debit card. 

What day of the week does unemployment pay? 

You can file a claim for the week prior every Sunday, claims and payments are typically processed within 2 business days. Providing that there were no issues with the information that you submitted. If there was an issue, you will be mailed a letter within 5 business days explaining what you need to do to correct the error so that you can receive your benefits.  

Maintain Eligibility 

The definition of unemployment is someone who is able and ready to work and is not receiving any income from either an employer or self-employment, so there is an aspect of maintaining eligibility in South Carolina that is important to understand.

Check out the South Carolina page regarding maintaining eligibility.

To remain eligible for UI benefits in South Carolina you may have to do the following every week:  

  • File your regular weekly claim 
  • Do  work search activities 
  • Must be available to work  
  • Stay in the area of your permanent residence 
  • Be available to work either full time or part time at any moment  

Make sure to update the unemployment department if anything changes or you are unable to work. This could impact your eligibility and potentially lead to overpayment, which in some instances could be considered fraud.  

Can I Work and Still Receive Unemployment? 

If you are working part-time and earn less than your weekly benefit amount, you may be eligible to receive benefits. You must also continue to seek, and be willing to accept permanent, temporary, full-time, and part-time work during each week you continue to claim. You may earn some of your weekly benefit amount (whichever is more) before your benefits are affected. Any earnings above that amount will reduce your benefit payment dollar for dollar.  

You must report all work and gross earnings for the week in which you worked, even if you have not been paid yet. 

Gross earnings are your earnings before taxes, or any other deductions have been taken out. If you do not accurately report any earnings you end up being overpaid and may face penalties or possible fraud charges. If you have any questions about what is considered income, contact your local unemployment office.  

Denial of Benefits 

In some instances, your claim for unemployment benefits may be denied. Here are some common reasons why your claim could be denied:  

  • Quitting a job 
  • Being fired from a job 
  • Unable to work 
  • Being out of the labor market 
  • Attending school 
  • Being self-employed 
  • Being incarcerated 
  • Missing an opportunity to work 
  • Turning down a job 
  • Not seeking work 
  • Receiving retirement pay 
  • Failing to participate in the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment interview 
  • Turning down a referral to work 
  • Failing to complete enrollment activities through your local WorkSource South Carolina center 
  • Being unemployed because of a labor dispute, and 
  • Weeks claimed by school employees during the summer, winter, or spring break periods or between terms 

In many cases you can appeal the decision if you believe that you made a mistake or that you should be eligible to receive benefits. 

For more information, check out the South Carolina unemployment denial appeals process

What is the Appealing Process in South Carolina? 

If your claim is denied, or your weekly amount is reduced you will be mailed an Administrative Decision within a certain number of business days of it happening. 

You may receive a form along with the decision which you should fill out and return if you choose to appeal the decision. It is important to note, that if you choose to appeal the decision you should continue to file your weekly claims for benefits. 

That way, if the appeal is reached in your favor, you can be paid out for all the weeks you were eligible for. Administrative decisions become final within 20 days (about 3 weeks) from the date they were mailed. It is pertinent that you respond quickly to ensure your greatest chance of success. 

You can learn more about the South Carolina appeals process here.

Stopping/Restarting A Claim 

When you return to full-time work or earn more than or equal to your weekly benefit amount, you can just stop claiming South Carolina weekly benefits. If you began work in the last week you are claiming, be sure to report your gross earnings, even if you have not been paid yet. 

The Employment Department may automatically stop your claim if you:

  • Earn more than or equal to your weekly benefit amount; 
  • Work full-time or stop claiming for one week or more; or 
  • Report no earnings after a week that you reported some earnings. 

If your claim was stopped, you must restart your claim in order to receive benefits. Remember your claim is good for 52 weeks. Stopping your claim during that 52 week period will not cancel your claim. 

If your claim was stopped because you returned to work, you can restart your claim by using the Online Claims System, or by calling the UI Center. If you have no earnings to report, and your claim was stopped, you need to contact the UI Center so a claims specialist can restart your claim. 

Restart your claim during the week you want to begin claiming. You will need to provide employer information if you have worked since you last claimed. This includes the dates worked, the names, phone numbers and addresses of your employer(s), and your gross earnings from those employers. Once you have restarted your claim, remember you must also claim the week after it is over. 

Unemployment Hardship Options in South Carolina:

Many individuals who get unemployment may be at risk of facing financial hardship. As such, here are some options in South Carolina to consider if your debt may go behind from unemployment.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in South Carolina

If you face unemployment, you may have an easier time qualifying for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in South Carolina. That said, you often have to qualify for bankruptcy using the South Carolina bankruptcy means test and income limits. For example, below are the income limits for bankruptcy cases filed on or after May 15, 2022 for South Carolina. 

# of PeopleAnnual Income
1$55,101
2$67,050
3$76,030
4$93,154
5$103,054
6$112,954
7$122,854
8$132,754
9$142,654

Please note that the income limit is an additional $9,900 per household member greater than 9,

Cost to file bankruptcy in South Carolina

You’re probably wondering how much it costs to file bankruptcy in South Carolina. The cost to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $338, and the cost to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy is $313. This is just the filing fee, and you may be able to get that waived if you are under the fee poverty guidelines for South Carolina as seen below.

# of People150% Poverty Guideline
1$13,590
2$18,310
3$23,030
4$27,750
5$32,470
6$37,190
7$41,910
8$46,630
9$51,350
* Add $4,720 for each individual in excess of 9.

That said, the Chapter 7 attorney costs in South Carolina may range from $1000 - $2800 and the Chapter 13 attorney costs in South Carolina may be approximately $3,700.

Specific cities may have different attorney fee ranges. For example, the estimated attorney fee is $2,500 in Charleston and $2,200 in Columbia

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in South Carolina

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in South Carolina may not be as common if you face a longer term unemployment. You are on a fix 3 or 5 year payment plan, but if you are not receiving income due to unemployment, it may be difficult to continue making the payments.

South Carolina Debt Relief

South Carolina Debt Relief is a common option if you want to avoid bankruptcy and want to pay back some of the debt through settling the debt. Please note that you may save money on your debt, but you may face creditor lawsuits, your credit score may be impacted and you may receive collection calls.

Other Options

Two other common alternatives in South Carolina are Debt Management and Debt Payoff Planning. In debt management, a credit counseling agency would attempt to negotiate the interest rates of the debt. With debt payoff planning, you would line up your debts and attempt to pay more to each debt each month.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article helps you understand how unemployment works in South Carolina while allowing you to estimate your benefit amount and how long you would receive that benefit. Please feel free to take the South Carolina unemployment calculator and let us know if you have any questions at support@tryascend.com.