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Filing Hints and Tips

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions as people file their claims as well as some tips to navigate the system. You can find more comprehensive guides to the UI process and various programs of the CARES Act by visiting our COVID FAQ page.

Reasons an individual might be waiting on payment of a claim
  • Was your claim exhausted before the CARES Act programs expired in December 2020? If so the federal program extensions, made available through the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act, only allows states to back pay benefits to claim week ending January2, 2021. That means if you have weeks between when you exhausted and claim week ending January 2, 2021, you are not eligible to receive benefits for those weeks.
  • Did you move since filing your initial claim for unemployment insurance? Please make sure your address has been updated under your Personal Information tab located in the MyBenefits portal so DEW is aware of the address change.
  • Did you change your bank account information in the MyBenefits portal? If you change critical information in your portal, our agency may require additional security information to ensure the protection of your account. Please make sure you have completed all security verifications and any requested documentation through your MyBenefits portal. Any additional information that is required from you will need to be satisfied in order to be cleared for payment.
  • Did you file an appeal and are waiting for your hearing? Please be advised that if you are denied benefits for any reason, your payments cannot begin or resume until after your appeal decision has been made.
  • Has your claim been flagged for potential fraud? Due to the severity of widespread fraud in UI divisions nationwide, DEW has taken additional measures to ensure only legitimate claimants are being paid. Please be advised that your payment will be on hold as our integrity unit investigates your claim. DEW will be sending communication to you through your MyBenefits portal and any additional information that is required from you will need to be satisfied in order to be cleared for payment.
  • Did you certify for all available weeks in your MyBenefits portal? Certifying each week let’s DEW know you are in still unemployed and eligible to receive benefits. We cannot issue your benefit payment until after this step is complete each week.
  • Have we recently requested documentation from you regarding your claim? Check your Documents tab in the MyBenefits portal for the latest communication from DEW. Please send in any requested documentation as soon as possible to avoid a delay in your payments.
  • Have you recently had a change in your childcare situation? For example, does your child or children’s school district now offer in-person school as an option? If so, please make sure that when you certify each week you are answering the questions accurately and honestly. Any information that is filed incorrectly or not updated could result in your payments being delayed or an overpayment being created due to benefits being received for which, by law, you were not eligible.
  • Have you been disqualified for benefits? Please ensure that all information you file regarding your claim is filed honestly and correctly. If you make an honest mistake, you will need to call and speak to a claims specialist as changes cannot be submitted online after you have received the completion page for initial claims or weekly certifications. Information should not be changed for the sole reason of reversing a disqualification notice, despite meeting eligibility requirements.
Do you have an app?

DEW now has a claimant app available for download for free for all Android and iPhone users! Read the press release here!

The app features for claimants include:

  • Complete weekly certification from your smartphone
  • View status of your claim
  • View payment history
  • View countdown until next available day to certify
  • View documents and correspondences from DEW
Why am I being asked to file a new UI claim?

The new quarter started on July 5, which may require you to reapply for unemployment insurance benefits. The CARES Act, specifically states that anyone who is potentially eligible for state UI and is currently on a federal program like PUA, must reapply so their regular UI benefit eligibility can be re-determined. This may not apply to those who are self-employed, 1099, gig workers or independent contractors, only those who were found monetarily ineligible due to not earning enough wages earned during the previously assessed base period.

If this will affect you, you will receive an alert within the MyBenefits Portal with instructions to "Apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits." 

If you get a system message informing you that you that the username you have selected already exists in the system, select another username.

This does not mean you are already registered in the system. It means that username has been assigned to another individual. Usernames in the Claimant Self Service Portal must be unique. Try another username.

Some of the prompts require a multi-word answer, such as what is your all-time favorite movie or what is your all-time favorite summer destination.

Please note that the answers cannot contain spaces or special characters so the answers will have to be compounded together such as TheGodfather or Stpetersburg.

Account creation is a two-step process — it is not kicking you out of the system. You are being sent back to the login screen.

Account creation is a two-step process. The first thing you do is create your “credentials” or username and password. When you complete this process the system will automatically close and send you back to the login screen. Do not be alarmed. This step is for your security.

On the login page you will enter your new username and password to reenter the system. This way your credentials are associated with all of your registration information.

You can reset your MyBenefits portal password by text, email or by answering security questions. 

If a claimant forgets their username and/or password, the CSS portal provides the claimant with three options of resetting their password. They can reset their password by answering the security questions, by sending a security code via text message or by sending a security code via email to the email address on file.

Please review this password reset PDF.

What you need to file a claim
  1. Your Social Security Number
  2. Your work history for the past two (2) years, including:
    • Name of employer
    • Address
    • Telephone number
    • Employment dates
    • Rate of pay
    • Total earnings
    • Information about your job separation for each employer
    • If you received severance pay or retirement pay, you must know the amounts
  3. In the event you qualify for benefits and you would like your unemployment payments to be directly deposited into your bank account, you will need your bank routing number and account number. You should also contact your bank to make sure that your bank accepts electronic fund transfers.
    • There are several advantages to direct deposit: You will receive your UI benefits faster; it saves time and money because you do not need to go to the bank and it means no mail delays.
    • If you do not have direct deposit information, you may enter it at a later date.

You may also need additional documents if you belong to one of the following categories:


  1. Alien number and expiration date from your Employment Authorization Document.

Former Federal Employees

  1. SF-50 form or SF-8 form and pay stub(s) if you were a federal employee within the past two years.

Former Military Personnel

  1. At least one of the following:
    • Most recent DD214 Member 4
    • Orders to report
    • Orders of release
    • Military earnings and leave statement
    • W-2 form(s) from your most recent military service

If this is the first claim you are filing since release from the military and you do not live in SC, contact the State Workforce Agency in the state you are physically located in for assistance with filing your claim.

Resuming the UI claim

If you log out or are timed out of the system, when you log back in to finish your claim you will see a link on the dashboard that says, “Resume My UI Claim.” You will still have to proceed through the tabs you have already completed, but you will see that your information has been saved in the fields. Just click Next until you return to where you left off.

Why is my FPUC payment reduced all of a sudden?

If you have noticed a reduction in your weekly FPUC payment, please check to see if you have an overpayment balance listed on your portal homepage. This will be displayed on the top right of the homepage next to OVERPAYMENT. If you have an overpayment listed, this is because an additional review of your claim has indicated either a fraudulent or non-fraudulent overpayment has been detected.

DEW is entitled to reduce your FPUC payment by 25% for each paid claim week through the duration of the FPUC program or until the overpayment has been repaid, whichever one comes first. Learn more about overpayments, how to appeal or repay the overpayment in full.

Entering the City

Click the magnifying glass in the blue square to the right of the city field. In the pop up box click the drop down menu and select your state. In the city name field, type your city or click “Search” and select the city from the list, scroll to the bottom of the city list and click “Select.” The city name will then populate the field. Click “Close” and the city field should now be filled in.

For a company with franchises, what location to select.

Select the one that seems to be the correct employer – use the name and address listed on your paystub. If adjustments need to be made, we will contact you.

How to list employer if self-employed, 1099, gig employees, etc.

Use the name you provide when filing with the IRS.

No federal EIN number?

Use your Social Security Number.

Where to upload employer documentation for employment history when filing out initial claim.

The last line of the screen says provide any supporting documents you have. Under the check boxes there is a button labeled Upload. When you click this button it will allow you to select documents from your computer to upload into the system.

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

Where do I tell the system the laid off was due to COVID-19.

When you are directed to the separation tab, the first question is reason employment ended. In that drop down menu, you will see two options related to COVID-19: Layoff due to Coronavirus and reduced hours due to Coronavirus.

How do to enter return to work date if you don’t know.

Use your best guess. This can be changed later.

How to use the fields in the Work Search tab.

Click the magnifying glass in the blue square to the right of the Kinds of Job Seeking/O*Net field. In the pop up box you will be able to search different categories of work and then select the one that is most appropriate.

If the work search was waived for South Carolina why does it tell me I have to do two job searches in South Carolina Works Online System (SCWOS)? If I want to return to my job, why would I be required to do two job searches?

Due to the unusual circumstances of COVID-19, the weekly work search requirement is waived for the duration of the State of Emergency declared by the Governor.

What to do if system reports invalid SSN.

In order to proceed please remove your middle initial if you provided it. If you left the field blank, fill in your middle initial. Under the drop down box labeled “Name: Change Reason” select, I misspelled my name. Then click Next. Your information will be validated and processed by our system during off-peak times.

I worked for an employer, but resigned to take a new job. Before my start date, my new employer told me that the job was eliminated due COVID-19. Can I still apply?

If you have a letter from the new employer with the intended start date then go ahead and file. You will originally be denied; however, you do not need to do anything. Please wait on our agency for further information once PUA is enacted.

How to confirm the claim is completed and received.

When you have completed the claims process you will receive a confirmation number on the screen.

How to correct a mistake made when filling out claim.

Call our call center at 1-866-831-1724 to speak to a dedicated claims specialist.


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To report fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement or misconduct, call the State Inspector General at 855-723-7283 or visit