Unemployment Insurance Provisions in the CARES Act

  • South Carolinians who are out of work due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply for unemployment assistance with the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce
  • The CARES Act provides a new unemployment program - Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
    • This program broadens the definition of unemployment eligibility to include the self-employed, contractors, and those with limited work history.
  • The CARES Act also provides an emergency increase in unemployment compensation benefits of $600 per week for up to four months.
    • This additional compensation is in addition to South Carolina weekly unemployment compensation. 
    • South Carolinians working for governmental entities and nonprofit organizations are also newly eligible to apply for unemployment assistance related to COVID-19.
  • After the initial virus crisis period, the CARES Act also provides funding for an additional 13 weeks of unemployment for those who remain unemployed. 
  • The CARES Act additionally provides funding for short-term compensation payments to South Carolinians experiencing pay reductions due to reduced hours. 

FAQ from South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce

When will I start receiving the additional $600?

To date, we have not received any federal funding through the CARES Act or PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance). Once a clear timeline is provided, we will communicate that out.

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I applied in mid-March as self-employed and was denied. Will the federal expansion of eligibility pay me out from the time I filed? Or do I need to refile?

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits will be available from the claim week ending February 8, 2020 through the claim week ending December 26, 2020. Once PUA is activated within our system, DEW will retroactively pay out benefits to the first week within that period that you meet the PUA eligibility requirements.

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I’m self-employed. Your system shows my status as “ineligible.” What do I need to do?

At this time, there’s no action needed on your part. You will receive an initial denial. You do not need to file an appeal. Once the CARES Act and PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) is activated within our system, we will retroactively pay out benefits.

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How do I file for an extension if my benefits are exhausted?

At this time, the system will not allow an extension to be filed due to the system enforcing the standard 20 weeks of benefits ruling. You do not need to file an appeal. Once the CARES Act and PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) is activated within our system, we will retroactively pay out benefits.

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If someone is denied benefits because they haven’t lived in SC long enough or haven’t accrued enough to meet monetary requirements, will they be provided eligibility coverage under the CARES Act or PUA?

Individuals who do not have a sufficient wage history to meet the regular state UI monetary requirements may be eligible for PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) if they were separated as a direct result of COVID-19.

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I was supposed to start a job, but didn’t because of COVID-19. What amount do I put from wages?

You should report the actual wages you earned for the period you are being asked about. Individuals who do not have a sufficient wage history to meet the regular state UI monetary requirements or who were scheduled to start a job but couldn’t due to COVID-19, may be eligible for PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) if they were separated from employment, or could not start employment, as a direct result of COVID-19.

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