How To Apply For Unemployment In South Carolina

Unemployment Insurance claims in South Carolina are processed through the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce. You must be fully or partially unemployed to claim benefits, willing and able to work, and registered for job search with an SC Works Center. Before you begin the application for your claim, read below (including linked content):

If you’re living out of state but are claiming unemployment compensation based on wages received in South Carolina, you can file by phone at (800) 529-8339. Unemployment insurance claims cannot be filed from outside the United States.

Required Documentation and Qualifying Criteria

To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, you must be able to prove that you are a US Citizen or legal alien, have documented wage history in South Carolina, and can provide verifiable evidence that your separation from employment was through no fault of your own. You should gather the following documentation before beginning:

  • Social Security Card (or number if card is unavailable)
  • South Carolina ID or Driver’s License
  • Alien Registration Number (for legal aliens)
  • W2 or 1099 from Last Year
  • Most Recent Paystubs with YTD Wage Information

Your initial claim will be examined, and you’ll receive a letter in the mail confirming your eligibility and listing your benefit amount. There is a mandatory “waiting week” after your initial claim during which you will be unable to collect a payment. 

Base Period and Alternate Base Period

Your unemployment insurance weekly payment amount will be roughly fifty percent of the average weekly wage you earned during your “base period.” The base period is normally the first four of the last five quarters you worked, but if you don’t have sufficient time in to qualify under those guidelines, you may be eligible for an “alternate base period” of the most recent four quarters, including the quarter you are currently in.

The minimum weekly benefit amount you can receive in South Carolina is $42 and the maximum is $326. To qualify, you must have been paid wages of $1092 or more in the highest paying quarter of your base period and your total wages for that period must exceed one- and one-half times that amount. You can also qualify if you made $4455 or more.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits Responsibilities

To continue receiving payments, you must file a weekly claim and agree to fulfill the responsibilities in your unemployment insurance agreement with the Department of Employment and Workforce. You must:

  • Register for work at SC Works. They have an online portal at
  • Remain willing and physically able to work
  • Search for work every week that you’re collecting UI benefits payments
  • File weekly claims on time
  • Document any wages earned during the unemployment period
  • Accept a full-time position if offered 

If you’re denied unemployment benefits for violating any of the above requirements, you have the right to appeal in writing to S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, Attention: Appeals Tribunal, P.O. Box 995, Columbia, SC 29202.

South Carolina Unemployment Insurance Program

  •  To check the status or get information on your claim: Coronavirus update: South Carolina is providing updates on Unemployment Insurance changes related to COVID-19 here: Visit Website
  •  To file a claim by telephone number: Visit Website
  •  General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program: Visit Website

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