Under the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) individuals who would not normally qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, such as self employed workers, could be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
According to SCDEW (South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce) here are some groups that could be eligible now:
- Individuals who file a 1099
- Church employees
- Non-profit and governmental employees
- Independent contractors
- Gig economy workers
- Those who are requesting an extension of benefits
These individuals must also meet one of these conditions:
- The individual has been diagnosed; or
- A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed; or
- The individual is providing care to a household or family member; or a child or other person for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility and is unable to attend school or another facility as a result of COVID-19; or
- The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency; or
- The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine; or
- The individual was scheduled to start work and does not have a job as a result of COVID-19; or
- The individual has become “the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19”; or
- The individual has to quit their job because of COVID-19; or
- The individual’s place of employment is closed because of COVID-19.
The unemployment assistance is available to individuals who are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work for the weeks impacted as a result of COVID-19 between Jan. 27- December 31, 2020.
There is a maximum of 39 weeks of assistance, where the amount is equal to what is authorized under the state unemployment compensation law, plus an additional $600 per week for up to four months.
These benefits will be administered by the state, in accordance with this new Federal law. However, these benefits are not yet available and SCDEW is awaiting further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The agency recommends filing as early as possible even though the funding has not arrived. That allows retroactive payments to be made once it does.
Claims can be filed online by clicking the MyBenefits Portal on the top right side of the agency’s website: dew.sc.gov or by calling 1-866-831-1724. Patience is encouraged filing a claim.