In most cases, no. Although there are some rare exceptions, you generally may not collect both unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation at the same. There are significant differences between the two programs in terms of eligibility.
Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance In South Carolina
South Carolina unemployment insurance (UI) is paid for by employers’ tax contributions. The general guidelines for eligibility are:
- You’re currently unemployed.
- The loss of your most recent job was not your fault.
- You are able and available to work in any suitable position.
- You are actively searching for work each week that you file a certification for UI benefits.
- You’ve earned at least $4,455 from covered employment during your base period.
- In your base period’s highest-earnings quarter, you earned at least $1,092 from an employer paying UI taxes.
- Your total base period wages are at least 1.5 times your highest quarterly wage total.
Your standard base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters before the start date of your claim. If your standard base period numbers do not qualify you for UI, you might qualify for benefits according to your alternate base period, which includes the four most recent calendar quarters before your claim’s effective date.
The only way to be sure whether you qualify for UI is to file an initial claim with the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW). Even if you are eligible for UI on the basis of earnings in your base period, you can be disqualified if:
- You left your most recent job without good cause.
- You retired voluntarily.
- You were fired for cause.
- You were fired for misconduct connected to your job.
- You lost your job by participating in a labor strike.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation In Horry County
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance coverage for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Every South Carolina employer with four or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. To collect workers’ comp:
- You must be an employee.
- Your employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance.
- You must have a work-related injury or illness.
- You must meet deadlines for reporting your injury/illness and for filing a workers’ comp claim.
If you are eligible, workers’ comp pays for your medical expenses and up to two-thirds of wages lost due to your work-related injury or illness. Your employer may not fire you or retaliate against you in any other way for filing a claim, and you do not have to prove your employer was negligent or did anything wrong. Even if you caused your own injury on the job, you may still collect benefits as long as you meet two crucial deadlines:
- Report your injury/illness to your employer within 90 days.
- File your claim for workers’ comp within two years.
These deadlines might be extended if:
- Your employer already knows about your accident/injury.
- You were physically or mentally unable to notify the employer.
- You have a repetitive motion injury that develops over time, rather than a one-time accident causing an immediate injury.
Unemployment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Are Mutually Exclusive
To receive unemployment insurance, you must be able and available to work. To receive workers’ compensation, you must be unable to work due to your injury or illness. Because you cannot meet both of these criteria at the same time, you cannot be considered eligible for both types of benefits. Trying to collect benefits for which you aren’t eligible is fraud—which could lead to criminal and/or civil penalties.
The only possible exception to this rule would occur if you are receiving workers’ compensation payments for permanent partial disability (PPD). In this case, you might be working with restrictions at a reduced salary while actively seeking another job that you can perform with the physical limitations caused by your work-related injury. In such a case, you could be eligible for both workers' comp and UI. An experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help you through the complicated process of filing for and receiving both types of benefits.
Are You Unable to Work Due to a Job-Related Injury in Horry County?
Learn about your options by consulting an experienced workers’ comp attorney and downloading our free book, The Truth About Your South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call our Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, or Conway office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Horry County and surrounding areas, so we’re sure to have an office near you.