South Carolinians who have been out of work for more than six months can no longer receive unemployment benefits after December 1.
Republicans in Congress blocked a bill Thursday that would have continued extended jobless benefits into February. Although a majority of representatives voted for the bill by a 258-154 margin, the fast-track methods Democrats used to bring it to a vote required a two-thirds majority. Republicans said they’d support the bill only if it cut the federal budget in other areas to cover an estimated $12.5 billion addition to the national debt.
For South Carolinians, that means Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) will no longer be offered after December 1. These payments allow people who have been out of work for more than 26 weeks to continue to receive benefits for up to 99 weeks.
EUC is made up of four tiers that kick in after set amounts of time. The first tier of the program pays for up to an additional 20 weeks of benefits to workers in South Carolina. Up to an additional 14 weeks was allowed in Tier 2, up to 13 weeks were allowed in Tier 3 and up to 6 weeks were allowed in Tier 4 for claimants in states—like South Carolina—with high levels of unemployment.
After December, you may no longer be able to move up to the next tier. However, claimants will be able to finish their current tier until it expires. There is also the Extended Benefits program, which was passed earlier this year. The EB payments added an additional 20 weeks of jobless benefits. The last payable week for claimants who receive EB funds is December 6.
South Carolina officials will meet Friday to discuss whether or not to continue the program into December. During a similar situation in July, SCDEW allowed unemployed South Carolinians to continue to apply for benefits. When Congress eventually granted an extension, those claimants were able to collect the benefits.
Congress’s failure to pass the extension does not affect normal unemployment benefits for those who have been out of work for less than 26 weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) [courtesy: SC Dept. of Employment and Workforce]
1) What is the ending date for EUC?
Beginning Nov. 30, 2010, the EUC program will gradually phase-out. The phase-out does not immediately affect individuals who are currently receiving benefits on a particular tier of EUC. Claimants may continue to receive the remaining balance of that tier. However, once they have exhausted that specific tier of benefits, they will not be allowed to advance to the next tier.
For new initial EUC Tier 1 claims, a claimant must exhaust their regular UI benefits on or before Nov. 23, 2010 to be eligible for EUC program. Anyone exhausting their UI claim after that date will not be eligible for EUC. For those claimants on EUC Tiers 1-4, they must exhaust their claims on or before Nov. 30, 2010 to advance to the next tier. If a claimant should exhaust their current tier after that date, they will not be eligible for the next tier.
2) How do I find out if I have a balance left?
If a claimant is filing by Telclaim or online using Standard Weekly Filing, then Telclaim or online app will advise the claimant of the remaining balance. If a person is filing by Pay Order Card (POC) either online or by mail, the claimant must contact their local workforce center.
3) Will Extended Benefits (EB) be available when either my regular UI or EUC runs out?
The last payable week for EB for any claimant in South Carolina that has funds available on his EB claim is the claim week of December 6, 2010.