In the current times, where the economy is currently in a recession and companies have either made the employees work from home and many who were deemed unessential for the survival of the business itself laid off with some severance. Now these employees who are out of work with only the current situation to blame for their unemployment, may claim some unemployment benefits of South Carolina. Unemployment benefits are given by most of the states, however, they vary in their eligibility, previous earnings, and other requirements. Here is this article, we are going to go over the unemployment rules in the state of South Carolina and what do you need so that you can benefit from the relief offered by the government in the current trying times.
The CARES Act by Congress for Pandemic and Unemployment Relief
The Current pandemic has been a disaster, not only because it claimed millions of lives around the world but has also brought millions of people onto the streets is out of work. Many businesses went out of business in the last year and the economy went down drastically. To address these events, the United States Congress had passed a stimulus package which is known as the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act” which provided cash and unemployment benefits to every adult. Currently, the President has just signed into law the third round of stimulus relief package which should be sent in unemployment relief as early as this. The highlights of that include:
- 1400 dollars for each adult who is earning upto 75000 dollars per year.
- 2800 dollars for each couple whose collective incomes add up to 150000 dollars per year.
- 1400 dollars for each dependent child that a married couple has in their household.
- Partial Payments for those people who are earning individually 80000 dollars per year or couples with collective income of 160000 dollars per year.
- The stimulus payment will be determined through the recently filed tax returns which may be from 2019 or 2020.
- To see the status on your Stimulus check visit the IRS website and check the “Get My payment” tool where you will need to put in your credentials.
The CARES Act had also afford the following benefits the for the people who were laid off or had their number of working hours reduced due to the current pandemic:
- The Unemployment benefits given by the state were added to by 600 dollars per week.
- The Unemployment benefits that only cover an individual for 39 weeks were extended for 13 more weeks.
- Unemployment benefits were also afforded to the people who were self employed or working in a freelance capacity.
Eligibility Requirements for Unemployment Benefits South Carolina
In the State of South Carolina, the unemployment cases are handled by the Department of Employment and Workforce. They determine whether a person is eligible and determines whether a person should be receiving benefits on a case-by case basis. The individuals who are applying for unemployment should be meeting the following requirements for them to be considered eligible:
- There is a minimum threshold which the applicant must meet in terms of their income.
- The Applicant should not have become unemployed because of something they themselves were responsible for.
- The Applicant must be fully able and available for a job role they are qualified for. They must also be very proactively looking for employment at various avenues where their services should be required.
What are the Minimum Earning Requirements?
Every state that offers unemployment benefits looks at your work history, experience and the earnings you used to bring in over a period. These earnings are looked at in a “base period” setting to see if you are deemed eligible for the unemployment benefits that the state could provide you. In the state of South Carolina, the base period is determined from the four former quarters out of the five to the date where you filed in your application for the unemployment benefits. An example of that would be that if an individual files an application in december of 2020, then the base period for them would be from April of 2019 to March 2020.
The base period will be checked where the individual filing a claim for unemployment must meet the following requirements:
- The Applicant must have earned at least $1092 during the highest quarter in the base quarter in the base period.
- The collective wages during the base period must add up to $4455.
- The base wages in total must add up to at least 1.5 time of the wages in the highest quarter.
Is the Applicant out of work with no fault of his own?
One of the biggest conditions an individual has to meet is that they must be out of work through no fault of their own. They must not have been booted out of work because of their own performance or behavior in the workplace. If they are, they will not be eligible for unemployment benefits in South Carolina.
Unemployment Due to Downsizing or Layoff
If the applicant was laid off from their previous job due to downsizing which was caused or a reduction in force then you are unemployed with no fault of your own and meet this requirement.
Unemployment Due to Being Fired
Now there are a few categories for which a person can be fired which affect whether it was their own fault or not for being fired. One of these is that the individual was fired because they lacked the necessary skill for the job or was not a good fit in the company. For cases like these the unemployment office may deem it as something that was not your fault and give you the unemployment benefits of South Carolina.
However, the standard for “being their own fault” is defined as the employee being fired after they committed a “misconduct”. Misconduct can be as follows:
- An intentional violation of the company rules.
- Failure to comply with standards that the employer expects from the employee.
- Careless behavior that is against the employers interest.
A few examples of misconduct can be showing up to work under the influence of controlled substances or frequent unexcused absences with written warnings.
There however may also be employees that may be ineligible to receiving unemployment for a set amount of time if they are found terminated and fired for a cause which did not however disregard the company interest. These individuals are only barred from receiving unemployment for a set amount of time which may be from 5 to 19 weeks.
Unemployment after quitting your job
Quitting your job may or may not qualify you from getting unemployment benefits. This depends on whether you had a good reason to do so or not. Now if the employer did not pay you well for the job you rendered will not be constituted as a good reason and will therefore make you ineligible for unemployment benefits of South Carolina. However, if you had a good reason to do so then you may be able to receive unemployment benefits. Some good reasons constitute of the following:
- The conditions were unsafe for working.
- The employer violated your employment agreement.
- There were some compelling family reasons.
- Health and safety hazards in the workplace.
You have to prove that you did all the necessary action to circumvent quitting, however, this was your last resort.
The Individual is Available and Actively Searching for Work
The Individual to be deemed eligible for unemployment, must be actively looking and be available to accept any job role they are offered to you according to your skill. In the initial phase of your unemployment, you are to look at whether the job role is suitable and in accordance with the skills you bring on to the table and the pay it offers. However as time goes on, you are expected to change your standards and accept job roles that require less skill and give out less pay.
The individual must be conducting an active search for employment to be deemed eligible.This means that at least four employers are contacted with the dates of contact and the outcome it produced. The Department will be contacting both parties for verification.
Amount and Duration of Unemployment Benefits in South Carolina
The unemployment benefits afforded to the recipient will be at least 50 percent of the average weekly pay calculated based on the base period. This starts from at least 42 dollars per week to a maximum amount of 326 dollars per week. The benefits usually last for around 20 weeks, however, the CARES act has given a 13-week extension on it, extending it to 33 weeks.
How to File a Claim for Unemployment?
You can use the phone, fax and mail to file unemployment. You can find the contact information at the DEW website. Once You have filed your application, the department will send you a notice and some documents.
Appealing the Denial of Unemployment Benefits
If your application is denied for unemployment then you have ten days where you can request for reconsideration. You can fax or mail it to the DEW appeal division. They will conduct a hearing where you may have to come in person or by phone.