Can Part Time Employees Collect Unemployment in South Carolina?

by Michaele Curtis; Updated September 26, 2017

Part-time workers in South Carolina are as eligible to collect unemployment benefits as full time workers. Although the monetary eligibility requirement may be harder to meet on part-time work, you can still collect benefits if you do meet it. On the other hand, part-time workers can continue to work while they collect benefits as long as they make less than their weekly benefit amount. Full-time workers have this benefit, too, but it’s harder to make less than your weekly benefit with full-time work.

South Carolina Definition of Part Time

The state of South Carolina doesn’t have a legal definition for part-time work. There’s nothing in the labor laws that separates part-time work from full-time work. Instead, it relies on your employer to make the designation. In fact, the designation does more for the employer than the Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW.) The DEW treats all W-2 employees the same, but your employer may differentiate between the two. Most often it’s the number of hours you work with that company, but the insurance benefits and vacation benefits may also be a differentiating factor.

Eligible from Part Time Work

Since South Carolina doesn’t treat part-time and full-time workers differently, it doesn’t deny part-time workers unemployment compensation based on their status. Instead, all workers must meet the same eligibility requirements. The only thing that might make it difficult for you to collect is meeting the monetary eligibility requirements during your base period, which is the first four of the last five full calendar quarters before you filed. That’s because you worked part time and probably worked less hours than a full-time employee at your job. However, as long as you earned at least $4,455 during your base period from your part-time employment, received $1,092 in wages during your highest earning quarter in your base period and your total base period wages equal one and a half times your highest earning quarter wages, you can collect South Carolina benefits.

Part Time Work While Collecting

You can still work and collect unemployment at the same time. Your weekly earnings must be less than your weekly benefit amount. For most workers, this can be difficult to achieve. However, since your benefits amount are based on your previous wages, if your part-time job is a reduction in hours from your previous position, it’s possible. To calculate your partial unemployment payments, the DEW will deduct 25 percent of your eligible weekly benefit amount from your earnings from the part time job. Then the rest of the earnings will be deducted from your eligible weekly benefit amount and that determines your partial payment.

Reporting

If you do work a part-time job while you collect unemployment benefits, you must report your weekly earnings to the DEW. This is how they determine what your partial unemployment benefits will be. Each week, you’ll file your continued claim with the DEW and answer questions about your eligibility for the previous week. Answer the question about any earned income by reporting the money you earned form your part-time work before any deductions.

About the Author

Michaele Curtis began writing professionally in 2001. As a freelance writer for the Centers for Disease Control, Nationwide Insurance and AT&T Interactive, her work has appeared in "Insurance Today," "Mobiles and PDAs" and "Curve Magazine." Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Louisiana State University.