Sequestration changes coming to unemployment benefits

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S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce

COLUMBIA – Starting this month, South Carolinians who receive federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) will see a reduction in benefits as a result of federal sequestration.

Sequestration imposed automatic, across-the-board spending cuts to the federal budget from March 1 through September 30. This will not affect claimants who are on the first 20 weeks of state-funded unemployment insurance benefits.

The U.S. Department of Labor requires that EUC benefit payments from March 1 through Sept. 30 be reduced by approximately $14 million to achieve the required level of savings.

In South Carolina, anyone receiving EUC benefits from March 1 through Sept. 30 will not receive unemployment insurance payments for claim weeks that end May 18, July 13 and Aug. 31. 

For EUC recipients, this means you will not receive a benefit payment to your direct deposit account or debit card the weeks of  May 20, July 15 and Sept. 2.

However, in order to prevent possible delays or penalties for untimely filing, continue to file during these weeks. 

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) estimates that having three non-paid weeks of benefits will meet the dollar requirement for sequestration. Right now, there are an estimated 16,000 claimants who receive EUC in South Carolina.

Anyone who has claimed EUC within the last four weeks will receive a letter in the mail from DEW with information on the non-paid weeks. New EUC claimants will be informed when they file their claim.

The reduction in EUC benefits is mandated by federal law and does not provide appeal rights. Nationwide, the EUC program is set to expire in December.