SC Employment and Workforce

If anyone collecting unemployment has received this email from SC Employment and Workforce:

This email was sent to every person in South Carolina that is receiving benefits. IT IS NOT DIRECTED TO THE FILM INDUSTRY..

I called the Governor’s office and was put through directly to a very nice woman in DEW who said, “If you are still unemployed due to Coronavirus, you are still unemployed and eligible for benefits. Keep certifying and answering those questions that you are unemployed and have not turned down work.” The claimant controls the claim. She said the only reason you would be refused is if your “employer” says you have turned down work.

Read the entire email and follow directions. This was a mass email that went out to the entire state.

Good luck and hang in there,
Linda Lee

As a result of South Carolina implementing Governor Henry McMaster’s plan to ease 
COVID-19 restrictions, more businesses will be reopening, and more people will be 
returning to work. 

Our records indicate you are (1) a self-employed individual in an
industry that has been cleared to reopen and (2) receiving benefits under the federal
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.  

This likely means that your place of employment is no longer closed as a direct
result of COVID-19. It may also mean that businesses that were forced to suspend 
operations are no longer experiencing a significant diminution of work and may be
ready to reopen. If that is the case, refusing to return to work typically makes 
you ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. 

Listed below are some Questions and Answers to help you understand what comes next.

What should I do when I return to work?

Simply stop filing your Weekly Certifications for unemployment. 
You do not need to report to DEW that you’ve gone back to work.  

What should I do if I’m returning to work, but will be earning less or 
working reduced hours?

Continue to file your Weekly Certifications and report any income you receive.
Remember, you must report income for the week in which it was earned, 
not the week in which you are paid.  Any income you earn may reduce
your weekly benefit amount; however, if you continue to be eligible for 
weekly benefits, you will continue to receive the flat $600 Federal Pandemic
Unemployment Compensation

What happens if I start earning income again and do not report those
earnings on my Weekly Certifications? 

If you continue to receive benefits for weeks after you return to work 
and earned income, you may be required to pay back the benefits you 
were overpaid.  Also, failing to report earnings may constitute fraud,
and lead to civil and criminal penalties.

I have reasonable concerns that my workplace is unsafe. 
Can I choose not to return to work and remain eligible for 
unemployment benefits? 

According to the information you provided to DEW when
filing your initial claim, your industry has been cleared to
reopen. You should take steps to address the necessary social
distancing protocols, which includes complying with safety 
standards as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
or other government authorities or industry groups. In a
situation where the necessary social distancing protocols are 
in place, you may be found ineligible for benefits if you 
do not return to work. 

I can make more money receiving unemployment benefits 
than I can make in income during this time. Can I choose 
to not return to work and continue receiving unemployment benefits?

No. Choosing not to return to work solely on the basis that
you will earn less than you can collect in unemployment
benefits is not considered good cause when your 

employer has offered you your former employment back or 
other suitable employment. If DEW determines that you have
refused to return to work solely on this basis, you will 
not be eligible to receive benefits. 

My industry has been reopened, but as a direct result of COVID-19,
I am not able to return to work. Are you saying my benefits will be cut off? 

No, although eligibility for PUA typically requires that the individual 
be able to work and available to work within the meaning of applicable
state law, if you are unable or unavailable to work because of a reason 
listed under section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I) of the CARES Act, you would be
eligible to continue receiving unemployment benefits under PUA.

Returning to work is an important step, not only for a stable economy,
but for each individual’s long-term employment security. While the
state and federal unemployment benefits are available to help see 
South Carolina through the height of the pandemic, it is time for the
state to safely and carefully make our way back to work.

If you have questions about the CARES Act or unemployment
insurance during COVID-19, please visit our website at