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Frequently Asked Questions for those applying for unemployment in S.C.

Unemployment graphic.
Unemployment graphic.(Associated Press (custom credit) | AP)
Published: Mar. 30, 2020 at 8:20 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) released a list of frequently asked questions it’s getting from people who are filing for unemployment benefits.

QUESTION: If someone can’t get through due to the Social Security Number error what do they need to do?

ANSWER: If someone cannot file their claim due to the social security number issue, they need to reach out to us via the TelClaim number, 866-831-1724, or through direct message in social media. Background on SSN issue: Due to the influx of unemployment claims being filed, the national system known as ICON hub, which all states use to validate social security numbers on claims in real time, is being overwhelmed with validation requests. We are required to validate social security numbers to avoid fraud and prevent identity theft. The Department of Labor is aware and is working to expand its database capacity.

In South Carolina, we are getting two different Social Security related questions:

  1. The social security number field keeps you from filing a claim stating that the number is invalid and will not let you proceed to the next screen. If you are getting this message, that is the validation delay mentioned above. We are asking folks to try to apply during an off-peak time. The validation of the social security number is done in REAL time, so that means as you are attempting to file, there are A LOT of people nationwide doing the same exact thing. We understand this has been an issue for a lot of people and as we get more information on progress, we will communicate that out.
  2. After you have filed a claim, received a confirmation number and you return to the portal, your dashboard is showing a pending Social Security Number Validation issue or a pending Separation issue. These issues will be handled by our agency staff. No action is needed on your end. And if additional information is needed, a representative will contact you directly. There is no need to speak to an agent regarding these issues.  

QUESTION: Has DEW added staff members for call centers?

ANSWER: Yes, we have continued to shift more employees to customer care roles, cross training them to help answer basic questions.

QUESTION: When will the CARES act go into effect for South Carolinians? When can people apply for those benefits?

ANSWER: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has been signed into law, but these benefits are not yet available and the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce is awaiting further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor for state-specific implementation.

For those who have already filed an unemployment insurance claim, please continue to file your weekly claim. For those who are self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, and gig economy workers, or requesting an extension of benefits and are not currently filing weekly claims, please continue to visit our website at dew.sc.gov, as we will continue to provide additional information and guidance as it becomes available.

Please visit our COVID-19 Resource Hub and social media as we will be communicating how this legislation will affect our process as soon as we know more.

QUESTION: Did South Carolina DEW have to agree to change any of its eligibility requirements in order to get additional federal assistance during the coronavirus?

ANSWER: While we haven’t received any guidance yet as to any additional changes (see answer above) here’s what we waived previously: the waiting week with the governor’s executive order, we removed the weekly job search requirement for COVID related unemployment, and we extended the tax deadline for employers. Press releases are all posted to the COVID-19 Resource Hub – see bottom right on this page: https://dew.sc.gov/covid-hub.

QUESTION: Was any additional funding from the federal government provided to the agency to assist in processing unemployment claims?

ANSWER: No.

QUESTION: Will the federal government pay in full the additional unemployment or does that financial burden fall at least partially on South Carolina’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund?

ANSWER: The state maximum UI benefit of $326/week will still be paid from the UI Trust fund, but the additional money written into the CARES Act will come from the federal government.

For more information, visit the COVID-19 Resource Hub on DEW’s website.

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