South Carolina Unemployment – Know Your Rights

  Last Verified: May 2016  

The basic rules and qualifications for unemployment compensation are quite similar across the country, however certain provisions in state laws may differ between states. If you were unemployed in South Carolina, read on for unemployment information pertinent to this state.

South Carolina Unemployment Qualifications

Most people who apply for unemployment benefits in Alabama will qualify for compensation after a review of three determining factors.

Past Earnings

Past earnings will not only determine your eligibility for unemployment compensation, but also the duration of the benefit period as well as the weekly compensation amounts.

Monetary determination is based on a review of your recent work history, specifically the one-year base period prior to application for unemployment benefits. Basic qualification for unemployment benefits requires that you worked at least two quarters of the base period. The two highest paid quarters will be used to determine compensation amounts.

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits, you must have earned a minimum amount of $1,092.00 during at least two quarters of the base period.

The wages paid to you by your employer during at least two quarters of the base period will determine your maximum weekly benefit amount as well as the maximum amount of weeks you can receive unemployment benefits.

Reasons for Unemployment

As in every state, the applicant must be unemployed through no fault of his/her own. Layoffs, a workplace-induced medical condition, constructive discharge, another job opportunity, or domestic circumstances may all be valid reasons to seek unemployment benefits.

Availability to Work

The applicant must be physically, mentally, and emotionally able to work. If you are not returning to your prior workplace, you must be actively seeking for new employment and able to prove the effort.

In case of temporary unemployment due to a workplace issue that can be fixed, you must be available to work upon remediation of said issue.

If your claim is not disqualified and there are no questions about your eligibility, you will receive unemployment benefits according to your qualifications.

How to Apply

Filing for unemployment benefits is a simple matter of having the right resources. South Carolina has a slightly different process for applying for unemployment benefits; there are three main steps:

  1. Apply for benefits through the MyBenefits portal

Make sure that you are able to provide the following information/ documents:

  • Social Security Number
  • Previous employer(s) information (name, address, job-site location, telephone number, etc.)
  • Union hall information (if applicable)
  • Alien registration number (if applicable)
  • If you served in the military, the member-4 copy of your DD214
  • If you worked for a federal employer, the SF-8 and SF-50 copy
  1. Register for work on SC Works Online Services

All recipients of unemployment benefits are required by South Carolina state law to register for work within two weeks of submitting their initial claim.

  1. File a Weekly Claim and Actively Search for Work

All applicants are required by South Carolina state law to actively search for work on SC Works Online Services every week immediately after filing their benefits claim. This applies during the waiting period as well.

For phone applications, cellular phones are not recommended. The phone application relies on a touch-tone system whereby the applicant will be asked a series of questions that require pressing a corresponding touch-tone number.

Receiving Your Benefits


you are found to be eligible for unemployment benefits, the wages from your two highest paid quarters will be used to calculate your maximum weekly benefit amount.

The standard rate is 1/26th of your average earnings for the two highest paid quarters of the base period. This can be translated to a minimum of $42 a week to a maximum of $326 a week.

The maximum number of weeks you can claim unemployment benefits is 26 weeks with exceptions during especially high unemployment periods. These 26 weeks may be used however you need during a 52-week benefit year, however after the benefit year expires, no more benefits may be drawn on that claim.

Alabama provides the option of receiving your unemployment benefits by one of two options: Direct Deposit and Debit Card. In order to ensure that your receive benefits, you must have an active bank account.

Certifying Weekly Benefits

In order to be eligible for an unemployment check, you must file a claim certification weekly, regardless of whether or not your claim has been approved. If you have filed an appeal, it is especially important to continue filing weekly certifications- this will ensure that you are paid for eligible back weeks. South Carolina’s weekly benefits certification process also involves actively searching for employment via the SC Works Online Services.

Claim certifications may be filed online via the MyBenefits portal or by phone via the TelClaim System (1.866.831.1724 for residents and 1.866.831.1725 for non-residents).

Weekly claim certifications must be filed Tuesdays through Saturdays (4:00am- 12:00am) in order to ensure your next weekly compensation check.


If you are found to be ineligible for unemployment compensation, you may seek to file an appeal and must do so within 10 days of the disqualification determination.

All appeal requests must be made in writing and sent to:

South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce

Appeal Tribunal

P.O. Box 995

Columbia, S.C. 29202

When writing an appeal, include the reasons you do not agree with the decision that was made on your claim, all pertinent information regarding your claim, your full name in print, and the last four digits of your social security number. Make sure to sign your appeals letter.

Other Important Information

Receiving unemployment compensation can be a frustrating experience, especially if you are misinformed or do not have access to the right resources. Before filing, make sure you have all your documents in order and have access to correct information.

In the section below, you can find some helpful resources.

Helpful Resources

Phone Numbers

4:00am-12:00am Central Time

Thursday through Saturday

To File an Unemployment Compensation Claim





To Certify Weekly Claims





To Call The Interstate Online Assistance Filing Line


To Call The SC Department of Employment & Workforce



SC Department of Employment & Workforce Main Office

Administrative Headquarters

1550 Gadsden Street

P.O. Box 995

Columbia, South Carolina 29202

The Hearing and Appeals Division

South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce

Appeal Tribunal

P.O. Box 995

Columbia, S.C. 29202

Web Links

The South Carolina Department of Labor

To File Online

The MyBenefits Web Portal


  1. “Collecting Unemployment Benefits in South Carolina |” . .
  1. “South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.”South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce . .

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