South Carolina lawmakers on January 25, 2024, advanced a bill out of committee proposing to index the length of unemployment insurance benefits to the state’s unemployment rate. House Bill 4710 would reduce the maximum number of benefit weeks to 12 when the unemployment rate is at or below 5.5%. The bill would cap the maximum benefit length at 20 weeks when the unemployment rate is more than 9%.
South Carolina’s current maximum benefit length is 20 weeks, and the state’s unemployment rate as of December 2023 was about three percent, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The maximum weekly benefit would fall by 8 weeks (from 20 weeks to 12 weeks) if the bill becomes law and the unemployment rate remains stable.
The bill now goes to the full state House for a vote.
Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.
The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.
For information about unemployment insurance programs across the country, click here.