Please view the list below of terms that are used throughout our site.
Able and Available:
You must be ready, willing and able to work. You must be prepared to start employment immediately and be physically and mentally capable of working to receive benefits. You must actively seek any work for which you are reasonably fitted by your previous training and experience and which you are capable of doing.
The formal request by a claimant or employer to have a determination or decision reviewed by the next higher level authority
Appeal Hearing Notice:
A notice claimant's receive notifying them of the date and time of their telephone appeal hearing. Failure to provide an updated phone number for the hearing and failure to participate in the hearing may result in dismissal of the appeal or your interests being considered abandoned.
Available for work:
To be eligible for UI benefits, a worker must be available to accept suitable full time work immediately. A worker must have transportation to work (car, bus, etc.) and child care to be considered available for work. A worker may not be considered available for full time work if incarcerated or under other legal restrictions.
The base period is defined as wages earned doing one year of insured work. Base-period wages typically establish monetary eligibility for UI benefits. There are two method’s used when calculating the base period: the standard base period and the alternate base period, which is defined below. When your initial claim is reviewed, DEW will decide which base period system your situation falls under. You will not have to determine this yourself.
Base Period - Standard Base Period:
The standard base period comprises the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters preceding a claim’s starting date. Your claim’s effective date determines your base period — not the date you become unemployed. For example, if your claim goes into effect during January, February, or March 2016, your base period is the first three quarters of 2015 plus the last quarter of 2014; even if your claim takes effect March 31, the last day of the quarter.
Base period - Alternate condition:
If you don’t qualify for UI benefits using the standard base period, you may qualify using the alternate base period.
The alternate base period includes the four most recently completed calendar quarters, including lag quarter wages — the most recently completed quarter preceding a new claim’s effective date.
To use the alternate base period, no wages from federal, military or out-of-state employment can be missing.
Benefit (Weekly Benefit Amount):
A weekly benefit amount is the amount of money you are paid each week that you are found eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
Benefits received in excess of what the claimant was entitled to.
When you apply for unemployment benefits, you establish an active unemployment account for 52 weeks. These 12 months (which may be different than a calendar year) are referred to as a benefit year. You may receive benefits during the benefit year, provided you meet all eligibility requirements until your benefit year expires or you receive the total maximum benefit amount assigned to your claim, whichever comes first.
Benefit year ending date (BYE):
Benefits will not automatically be available in a new benefit year once you exhaust all available state and/or federal programs. Under current law, in order to be eligible for UI benefits again, you must meet the following requirements:
✔️ You must earn at least eight (8) times your weekly benefit amount, from a new employer who pays into the UI Trust Fund.
✔️ You must be laid off by no fault of your own (meaning you didn't quit or were fired).
✔️ And, you must re-apply for benefits, but only after you meet the above requirements and after your benefit year has ended.
The 3 month period beginning with January, April, July and October.
1st quarter: January 1 through March 31
2nd quarter: April 1 through June 30
3rd quarter: July 1 through September 30
4th quarter: October 1 through December 31
People applying for unemployment insurance benefits
Wages paid by an employer subject to contributing taxes to South Carolina's Unemployment Insurance Fund. The amount of covered wages earned during the base period determines the amount of UI benefits the claimant is eligible for.
Funds are electronically transferred to your checking or savings account
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a person with a disability has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment or is regarded as having such impairment. Major life activities are functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working and receiving educational or vocational training.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA):
DUA is a federal program that provides weekly payments to individuals who become unemployed because of a major disaster, but who are ineligible for state UI benefits.
Discharge or termination:
A separation from work in which the employer’s action resulted in the separation; in which the worker did not have the choice of remaining employed regardless of efforts to preserve employment.
Employer Tax Rate:
An Annual Tax Rate Notice detailing an employer's tax rate for the upcoming year is distibuted to each employer in November of each year. Individual rates are based on an employer's computer benefit ratio. The tax class assignment in the notice should be used for the full calendar year. Please note that tax rates are applicable to the first $14,000 each employee earns. Although tax rates for each tax class are frozen at their 2020 levels, individual businesses may still move between classes based on their unemployment claim activity that was prior to the pandemic and/or not COVID-19 related.
All businesses with charges against their accounts are provided a “charge statement” quarterly to review and have 30 days to protest any charges they do not believe should be on their account.
Employer Vacation Policy:
If your business experiences regularly occurring vacation periods, you may be able to avoid paying for UI benefits during that time.
An individual is ineligible for benefits in the following situations:
- No individual may be considered unemployed in any week that DEW finds that his unemployment is due to a vacation week.
- No individual is eligible to receive benefits or waiting week credit for any week during which he is unemployed due to a vacation shutdown when:
- A written contract between employer and employees specifically provides a vacation period without pay, not to exceed two weeks per calendar year.
- The individual was notified at the time of employment of the employer’s vacation policy providing for a vacation layoff without pay, not to exceed two weeks per calendar year.
- The individual was employed at the beginning and the end of the vacation period.
An employers vacation policy should be submitted and approved to DEW.
Extended benefits (EB):
By law, Extended Benefits (EB) triggers on when the three-month average unemployment rate in a state is above 6.5%. If EB is triggered, additional weeks of benefits will be provided during this period of high unemployment
Any Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits received is subject to federal and state taxes. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), when filing your income taxes you must include all unemployment benefits received in your total income from the year.
DEW does not automatically withhold federal and state taxes from your weekly payment. When filing your initial claim, you must choose to have federal and state taxes withheld from your weekly payment; otherwise DEW will not withhold them. Federal withholdings are 10 percent of your total benefit and state withholdings are 7 percent.
You may change your withholding option at any time on the MyBenefits portal.
You were fired because your employer alleged that you violated a company policy, rule or procedure, such as absenteeism or insubordination; because of a disagreement or dispute with a boss or co-worker; or you were fired for any other reason.
South Carolina businesses are required to establish an unemployment tax account with DEW. Your business is liable for quarterly UI tax contributions if it meets any one of the following criteria.
- Pays $1,500 or more in wages in any calendar quarter or has at least one employee during any 20 weeks in a calendar year.
- Acquires all or part of a business that was an employer subject to UI taxes at the time of the acquisition.
- Is liable under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) and has employees in South Carolina.
- Elects to become a liable employer.
- Pays cash wages of $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter for domestic services.
- Pays $20,000 or more to individuals employed in agricultural labor during any calendar quarter.
- Employs 10 or more individuals in agricultural labor for a day in any 20 weeks in a calendar year.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC, program provides an additional $300 per week to eligible claimants, in addition to their Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA). Under current federal legislation, FPUC payments are available to eligible claimants from claim week ending January 2, 2021 - claim week ending March 13, 2021.
Temporary leave of employee due to special needs of a company or employer
State governmental agencies are liable for South Carolina UI tax contributions, and local governments that employ at least one individual; regardless of the number of weeks the individual is employed or how much he is paid also must establish an account.
All employers that are liable for paying quarterly UI taxes must preserve employee records and submit quarterly wage reports.
Gross Wages or Gross Income:
The amount an employee earns before taxes and other deductions are taken from the paycheck.
Stealing a persons private identifying information and using that information to file for UI benefits without their knowledge.
When a claim is determined to not meet the basic eligibility requirements based off the information provided by the claimant and/or their employer.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS):
U.S. government agency responsible for the collection of taxes and enforcement of tax laws
If you live outside of South Carolina and were separated from work with a South Carolina employer, you must file an out-of-state claim, commonly referred to as an Interstate claim, for unemployment benefits.
A reduction in a work force made by an employer because there is a lack of work to perform. A lay off is not the result of actions of the employee. Some examples of lay off situations: The fishing season ended, a business closed, a project was completed, a construction project began and due to weather had to stop work until further notice.
Let Go/Not Qualified:
You were discharged or fired because you were unable to meet employer performance or production standards, or you were unable to meet employer's qualifications for the job.
The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program expired claim week ending September 5, 2020. LWA provided eligible claimants $300 per week, in addition to their claimant’s weekly benefit amount.
The claimant's address on record with DEW in which all UI correspondence will be mailed. The claimant is responsible for having a valid mailing address on record in which to receive UI correspondence and to respond to UI correspondence timely. Failure to update your mailing address, may result in delays of benefits being paid. UI correspondence may be sent for the following purposes: to submit additional information, notification of monetary and nonmonetary determinations and other reasons. Claimants can change their address under the Personal Information tab.
Maximum benefit rate:
The maximum amount of money a claimant can receive
The Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program will provide eligible claimants with a $100 weekly payment, in addition to the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ($300) weekly payment and their weekly benefit amount.
For a worker’s actions to be considered misconduct, it must be shown, that the worker’s conduct was a willful act that breached a duty owned to the employer or a gross or repeated negligence that showed a substantial disregard of a duty owed to the employer.
A determination issued to a worker in the form of a written notice which lists the base period and the potential benefit amount. When a worker is determined to be monetarily eligible, the monetary determination states the benefit year, weekly benefit amount, dependence allowance amount, duration of weeks and maximum benefit amount. The worker is mailed the monetary determination and a copy is provided in the documents tab of their MyBenefits account.
A non-profit organization may or may not need to establish an unemployment tax account with DEW.
Your organization would be considered liable for South Carolina UI tax contributions if it meets any one of the following criteria.
- A non-profit organization, exempt under IRS Code 501-C-3, that employs four or more individuals for any 20 weeks within the current or preceding calendar year.
- A state government agency.
- A local government entity that employs at least one individual; regardless of the number of weeks the individual is employed or how much he is paid.
- A business that elects to become a liable employer.
Benefits received for which the claimant was not entitled because of a disqualification, earnings, or for other reasons.
Working part-time or odd jobs while receiving unemployment is acceptable and even encouraged. However, you must report the amount you earn each week when filing your weekly claim. If you physically worked during the week, you must report your gross earnings, which is the amount you earn before taxes or any other deductions; even if you have not been paid yet.
You may earn up to 25 percent of your weekly benefit amount without receiving a deduction in payment.
Failure to report your earnings is considered fraud. If you are found guilty of Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud
The federal extension signed into law at the end of 2020, allows for 11 additional weeks of benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC, program. This means instead of 13 weeks total of PEUC, eligible claimants may receive up to 24 weeks of PEUC total. The latest legislation will provide these extension of benefits from claim week ending January 2, 2021 - claim week ending March 13, 2021.
Prepaid Debit Card:
Claimants have the ability to choose to have their UI benefits applied to a debit card instead of direct deposit to their bank account. Prepaid debit cards can be used anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, is federal 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. Eligible claimants will receive a weekly benefit amount from this program from claim week ending January 2, 2021 - claim week ending March 13, 2021.
Employers must file a quarterly contribution and wage report each quarter. The State Unemployment Insurance Tax System (SUITS) makes it easy for employers to file online. If you have an account with DEW, but have not used SUITS, you will need to authenticate your account to get started.
Quarterly taxable payroll:
Amount of wages paid by an employer to their employees within the respective quarter.
January - March
April - June
July - September
October - December
You quit your job.
Reason for Separation
The reason you are no longer working. The most common reasons are laid off, quit or discharged.
A reimbursable employer typically is a governmental agency or a nonprofit organization described under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. A reimbursable employer is required to pay back the UI fund on a dollar-for-dollar basis for all benefits paid to former employees.
Employment that is in the worker’s customary occupation that meets the prevailing wage and working condition for the locality and labor market and that which is suitable for the worker based on experience or training.
Employment situation where the working arrangement is limited to a certain period of time based on the needs of the employing organization
Unemployment Insurance (UI):
Unemployment Insurance or UI is a nationwide program created to financially help eligible individuals (also referred to as claimants), who are unemployed through no fault of their own, while they actively search for new work.
In South Carolina, a UI claim can provide up to 20 weeks of benefits. The average weekly benefit amount is $236. The maximum weekly benefit is $326.
For work to be determined unsuitable, it must meet these provisions: the open job cannot be available because of a labor dispute, the wages and/or hours of the job cannot be substantially less favorable than those prevailing for similar work in the locality and the conditions of employment cannot require that the worker join a company union or resign from or refrain from joining a bona fide labor organization.
Fixed regular payment made by an employer to an employee
Before any benefits can be paid, an unpaid waiting period equivalent to one full week of unemployment benefits must be served. This requirement was waived by DEW from March 2020. Once turned back on, only new filers will have to wait the waiting week.
Week ending date:
In South Carolina, claim weeks run from Sunday - Saturday. The last day to certify for a previous claim week is Saturday. The first day you can certify is on Sundays. Claimants are certifying their claim for the previous claim week.
To receive benefits, once a worker has established an eligible claim, a weekly certification must be submitted through the MyBenefits portal. The first day a claimant can certify for the previous claim week is on Sundays. Claim weeks in South Carolina run Sunday - Saturdays.