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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the soon to be initiated Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program expands Unemployment Insurance (UI) eligibility and provides additional funding to individuals in South Carolina.

We continue to update our website with the latest information for individuals and employers. If you need instructions on how to apply for benefits, click here.  Before you call to speak with a representative, please check out our website and ChatBot to see if your questions can be answered online.

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Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

FPUC Overview

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program was the first federal CARES Act program to be implemented in South Carolina. FPUC provides an additional $600 per week to eligible claimants, in addition to their Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA).

NOTE: As stated in the CARES Act guidance: FPUC is not payable for any week of unemployment ending after July 31, 2020. Accordingly, in states where the week of unemployment ends on a Saturday, the last week that FPUC may be paid is the week ending July 25, 2020.

  • Since claimants receive payments for the previous claim week, that means the last week eligible claimants will receive their weekly benefit amount (plus the $600 FPUC payment) would be claim week ending August 1.
  • If a claimant is found eligible for any weeks between April 4, 2020 – claim week ending July 25, 2020, they will still receive the $600 FPUC payment for those weeks.  

 

FPUC Eligibility

If you are found eligible to receive $1 of weekly benefits through regular UI, PUA or PEUC, you are eligible to receive the additional weekly $600 payment for that claim week. The FPUC program is set to expire, per the CARES Act, on July 25, 2020. Unless new legislation passes, that will mean after claim week ending July 25, 2020, eligible claimants will only receive their weekly benefit amount (range: $42-$326 per week in South Carolina). 

FPUC Payments

  • Payment Amount: $600
  • Duration of FPUC program
  • First Payable Week: Retroactive to claim week ending April 4, 2020.
  • Last Payable Week: Claim Week Ending July 25, 2020

Additional Resources 

UI During COVID-19 FAQ
 
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Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

PUA Overview

PUA is unemployment assistance for the self-employed, contractor, gig worker, those who file a 1099, individuals who are ineligible for any other state or federal unemployment benefits and who are unemployed, unable to work or unavailable to work as a direct result of COVID-19.

PUA Eligibility

If you have been deemed monetarily ineligible for regular Unemployment Insurance, it may be because you filed your claim as self-employed, contractor, gig worker or someone who files a 1099. Please understand that the funding for which you may be eligible does not come from state resources. What that means is, you will receive notification that you have been denied state unemployment insurance benefits.

This is the first step in the process to receive federal funds coming from the CARES Act. You are still potentially eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) which is provided through this Act for individuals who were not previously eligible for unemployment benefits. If you are eligible under PUA, the benefits will be paid retroactively.

*If you have already appealed the denial of benefits, our system will dismiss the appeal so that you can proceed with the PUA process when our agency notifies you.

PUA Payments

  • Payment Amount: The Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) you will be eligible to receive will be displayed on your portal homepage. It can range from $131 - $326 per week.
  • Duration of PUA program
  • First Payable Week: Retroactive to claim week ending February 8, 2020
  • Last Payable Week: Claim Week Ending December 26, 2020

PUA Application Process

If you have not filed a regular Unemployment Insurance claim during the current quarter (April-June 2020), you may be required to file a new regular UI claim first before being able to file for PUA. The system will take your PUA claim information during the regular UI claim filing process.

UI Application with PUA PDF Instructions (process if you filed in the previous quarter)
PUA Applications Instructions (process if you filed in the current quarter)
Video Instructions

If you have not filed for unemployment insurance, feel free to visit our Apply for Benefits page to walk you through the process or go directly to the MyBenefits Portal to begin.

If you are found eligible for benefits, you may receive your payment within 7-14 days, but for more complex claims it could take up to 21 days to process and receive payment.


Additional PUA Resources

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance FAQ
NEW Weekly Certification Question Added for PUA Claimants

If you need assistance applying for benefits, claims representatives are available at 1-866-831-1724.

Questions? Our Chatbot can help!
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

 

PEUC Overview

PEUC is a temporary program that provides up to 13 additional weeks of payments to individuals who have exhausted their 20 weeks of regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.

PEUC Eligibility

To be eligible for benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, individuals must:

  • Have exhausted all regular unemployment insurance benefit payments.
  • Be able and available for work, unless unable to do so due to COVID-19 related reasons.
  • Be registered with SCWOS (job search portal) https://jobs.scworks.org/vosnet/Default.aspx. You do not have to complete job searches during State of Emergency declared by the governor, but you must be registered.
  • Report any covered earnings earned during the week being claimed. Covered earnings includes, but is not limited to, wages, paid sick time, vacation pay, and holiday pay.
  • This program does not apply to individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

PEUC Payments

  • Payment Amount: Same as individual's regular UI benefit.
  • Duration of PEUC Benefits (additional 13 weeks)
    • First Payable Week: Retroactive to week ending April 4, 2020 (or the first week after an individual exhausts regular UI, whichever is later).
    • Last Payable Week: Week Ending December 26, 2020.

PEUC Application Process

The “apply for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation” link will only be available to those who have exhausted their 20 weeks of benefits. If you can apply, it will be displayed on the Customer Menu page of your MyBenefits Portal.

PEUC Application Process PDF Tutorial
PEUC Filing Process Video Tutorial


Additional PEUC Resources

PEUC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you need assistance applying for benefits, claims representatives are available at 1-866-831-1724.

Click to learn how to apply for Unemployment Benefits
Extended Benefits (EB)

 

EB Overview

Extended Benefits (EB) will allow up to an additional 16 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits. This is after a claimant has exhausted both their regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits of 20 weeks and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits of 13 weeks.

EB Eligibility

Extended Benefits is payable only after exhaustion of PEUC and other unemployment insurance benefits as explained below. During the period that PEUC is available, an individual must have exhausted PEUC entitlement before becoming eligible to receive EB. To qualify for EB, the individual must have:

  • Exhausted all rights to regular UI under state law;
  • No rights to regular UI with respect to any UI law of another state or Canada;
  • Exhausted PEUC;
  • Wages in the base period (with respect to the regular UI claim that was exhausted) that includes one of the following: (1) 20 weeks of full-time covered employment; (2) wages higher than 40 times the individual’s most recent weekly benefit amount; or (3) total wages in the base period equal to or greater than 1.5 times the highest quarter (see Section 202(a)(5), EUCA);
  • No disqualifications that would prevent the individual from being eligible for EB (see Section 202(a)(4), EUCA); and
  • At least one week in the benefit year that begins in an EB eligibility period (see Section 203(c), EUCA). This means your regular UI benefit year had to have ended on or after June 14, 2020 in order to be eligible for EB.

Not everyone who qualified for regular benefits or PEUC benefits qualifies for Extended Benefits. You may be found ineligible to receive EB:

  • If you were previously discharged/fired from your job due to misconduct or cause, you may have to return to work and earn specific amount prior to being eligible to receive EB.
  • If you did not exhaust your regular UI benefits prior to the Extended Benefits period, you may not be eligible for Extended Benefits.

 

EB Payments

Payment Amount: The weekly benefit amount of Extended Benefits is the same as you received for regular unemployment compensation or through the PEUC program.

Duration of Extended Benefits: Up to 16 weeks. 

 

EB Application Process

If you are eligible to apply for EB benefits, you will see a hyperlink listed on the Customer Menu page of your MyBenefits portal. Please remember you will only see the “Apply for Extended Benefits” link if you have already exhausted your 20 weeks of regular UI and 13 additional weeks of PEUC.

Apply for EB PDF Tutorial 

Apply for EB Video Tutorial

 

Additional EB Resources

EB Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



  
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)

 

LWA Overview

Once implemented, the Lost Wages Assistance Program will provide $300 per week, in addition to a claimant’s weekly benefit amount. The presidential memorandum outlines that an “eligible claimant” is someone who is eligible to receive $100 in either state or federal weekly benefit amount, someone who completes the weekly certification process and someone who is unemployed as a continued result of COVID-19.

States approved for Lost Wages Assistance initially receive funding to cover three weeks of benefits. For South Carolina, these are the weeks ending August 1, August 8, and August 15. While we implement the first three weeks of LWA assistance in the state, we have proactively requested additional funding approval for weeks 4, 5 and 6. We are currently waiting to hear back from FEMA on those approvals of the additional weeks.

Unlike the CARES Act programs, the LWA program has a funding cap, which means once the allocated funding is exhausted, current or retroactive payments will no longer be available. This program is approved through December 26, 2020, however, the program can end if the federal Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) drops to $25 billion dollars or if additional legislation is passed by Congress to provide similar compensation for unemployed individuals.


 

LWA Eligibility

To be eligible to receive the weekly $300 LWA funds, you must:

  • Be eligible for a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 for one of the following unemployment programs during the week in which you are seeking LWA funds:
    • State Unemployment Insurance (UI)
    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
    • Extended Benefits (EB)
    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
    • Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA).
  • Certify that you were unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As stipulated by the President’s memorandum, claimants eligible to receive less than $100 per week in state or federal unemployment benefits will not be eligible to receive LWA funds and will only receive their weekly benefit amount for that week.

Additionally, you will not receive the LWA payment if you earn excessive wages for a claim week that results in you not receiving at least $1 of underlying state or federal unemployment benefits.

 

LWA Payments

Payment Amount: $300.

Duration of LWA Program: States approved for Lost Wages Assistance initially receive funding to cover three weeks of benefits. For South Carolina, these are the weeks ending August 1, August 8, and August 15.

While we implement the first three weeks of LWA assistance in the state, we have proactively requested additional funding approval for weeks 4, 5 and 6. We are currently waiting to hear back from FEMA on those approvals of the additional weeks.

First Payable Week: The LWA program is still being programmed into the MyBenefits portal. Once LWA launches, payments will be retroactive to claim weeks ending August 1, August 8, and August 15. Current and retroactive payments can only be paid while federal funding is available in the DRF.


Additional LWA Resources

Coming soon





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