Overpayments Can Have Serious Consequences

Working part-time or odd jobs while receiving unemployment benefits is allowed, and even encouraged, but make sure you report the money you earn each week when filing your weekly claim.

Failing to accurately report this and other requested critical information to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) may result in an overpayment, which can have serious consequences.

reporting wages

An overpayment occurs when you receive unemployment insurance benefits that you are not eligible for. DEW classifies overpayments of unemployment benefits into two categories: fraudulent overpayments and non-fraudulent overpayments.

Non-fraudulent overpayments happen when you receive benefits you are not entitled to, but receiving those benefits is not because you knowingly gave false information or withheld information.  Though unintentional, non-fraudulent overpayments must be repaid to DEW.

Fraudulent overpayments occur when you receive benefits you are not entitled to because you knowingly provided false information or withheld information. Fraudulent overpayments are a serious offense that can result in criminal prosecution. Fraudulent overpayments must be repaid along with a penalty fee of 25 percent. You are also disqualified from receiving future benefits for between 10 and 52 weeks.  To read more about preventing, reporting and the consequences of fraud, click here.

If you do not repay the overpayment debt once you have been notified of an overpayment, DEW takes many actions to recover the debt including:

You can avoid alternative collection methods by either repaying the debt in full or establishing and maintaining a monthly payment plan.  After receiving a Notice of Overpayment of Benefits, take immediate action by calling the Overpayment Unit at 803.737.2490.

Reporting accurate information and receiving only the money you are qualified to collect prevents potential fraud prosecution and will ultimately ensure the unemployment benefits program’s overall integrity.

For more information on overpayments, visit dew.sc.gov/overpayments.

Tax Season and Your Job Search: Learn What You Can Deduct

With the April 15 income tax filing deadline coming soon, it’s a good time to refresh yourself on how your job search expenses can impact your taxes.

You can deduct certain expenses you’ve incurred while looking for a new job, if it’s in the same field as your present or most current occupation. You can’t deduct these expenses if you’re changing career fields, there was a substantial break between your last job ending and your search for a new one, or if you are looking for a job for the first time, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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Below are some of the deductions possible if you are looking for a job within your current occupation:

  • Employment and outplacement agency fees.
  • Resume preparation and expenses. You can deduct what you spend for preparing and mailing copies of your resume to potential employers.
  • Travel expenses. You can deduct the travel expenses if the trip is primarily to look for a new job.

 For detailed guidelines, read the IRS’s Publication 529: Miscellaneous Deductions.

If you collected Unemployment Insurance during any part of the year, this is considered taxable income by the IRS.  In South Carolina, federal and state taxes are not automatically withheld from your unemployment benefits. You must choose to have them withheld when submitting your initial claim.

You can download and print your 1099-G as well as update your withholding information through the MyBenefits portal.

Learn more here.

Community Connection Points Grow

Looking for an easy way to kick off your job search right in your own community? Need to file an unemployment claim, but you don’t have access to a computer or the Internet?

There are now more than 100 Connection Points statewide that offer the right tools to help. Along with computer access, the Connection Points include printed resources and online tutorials to assist individuals file claims and search for jobs.

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These locations can be found at local libraries, Goodwill Job Connection Centers and other community-based organizations in all corners of South Carolina. These sites are in addition to the SC Works centers, where in-person employment services and computer access to unemployment services are available.

The SC Department of Employment and Workforce and its partners last year began providing re-employment and unemployment services in all 46 counties through a technology-enhanced approach including 13 regional comprehensive SC Works centers as well as satellite centers and community Connection Points.

 To find a Connection Point or SC Works center near you, visit dew.sc.gov/directory.

New Agency Phone Line Focuses on Better Customer Service

The SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) recently unveiled a new and improved phone line auto attendant.

phoneThe new line, which is accessed by dialing 803.737.2400, is more customer-friendly than ever with options dedicated to the agency’s four largest audiences: unemployment claimants, jobseekers, businesses/employers and those seeking other basic information about DEW.

This approach mirrors the agency’s website so that each audience only hears options pertaining to its individual needs allowing for faster, more specific responses..

Check out the new organization and options below.

Agency Main Line 803.737.2400
TelClaim | Claimant self-service lineUnemployment benefit inquiries
Weekly claim filing
Account information
1.866.831.1724 (toll free)
Press option 4, then option 1 to speak with a live representative weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.¿Habla español? 1.866.572.3148.
Claimant LineOverpayments
Appeals 

Fraud reporting
 803.737.2400, option 1
Job seeker LineJob search and training resources
SCWOS password reset
Veterans assistance
Farmworker services
 803.737.2400, option 2
Employer LineRecruit qualified candidates
Layoff assistance
Unemployment tax 
Wage Audit Notices 
Bureau of Labor Statistics survey completion
Appeals 
Fraud reporting
  

803.737.2400, option 3

Other Agency Info

Labor Market Information, data and statistics

Public and media relations

803.737.2400, option 4

 

Two Orangeburg County Residents Plead Guilty to Unemployment Insurance Fraud

Fraud                                                                                                                                            The SC Department of Employment and Workforce’s (DEW) Office of General Counsel
announced that two Orangeburg County residents this week entered guilty pleas to
unemployment insurance fraud. Richard Boyd, 32, and Quintilla Haigler, 48, both of Orangeburg County, pleaded guilty to making a false statement or misrepresentation with the intent to defraud DEW.

Boyd and Haigler received unemployment benefits they were not entitled to by certifying to
DEW that they were unemployed and not earning any wages. However, an investigation found they had been gainfully employed during that time period and knowingly failed to notify DEW of their wages.

Both Boyd and Haigler were sentenced to five years in prison, suspended upon serving five years’ probation. Boyd was ordered to pay $20,043 in restitution to DEW. Haigler was ordered to repay $17,619. In addition to their probation sentences, Boyd and Haigler were each ordered to pay a $1,500 civil penalty to the state.

The case was investigated by DEW and prosecuted by the S.C. Attorney General’s Office.

To report suspected unemployment insurance fraud, call 1.800.868.1488. Callers can remain anonymous. To learn tips on how to help prevent unemployment fraud, visit dew.sc.gov/fraud.

Mobile App Now Available to Android Users

The wait is over Android users! The SC Works Online Services mobile app is now available for download on your operating system. Simply search “SC Works” in the App Store to download to your device.

Apple users still have access on operating systems iOS6 or newer.

SCWOS (jobs.scworks.org) is South Carolina’s most comprehensive job-search tool, fueled by our state’s largest workforce development database. It links all of South Carolina’s state and local workforce services and resources in one simple location.

This app allows you to:

  • Access the entire SCWOS database right on your Apple or Android device.
  • Search for a job based on your current location using the unique “Jobs Nearby” function and pinpoint jobs on a map for easy reference.
  • Save and share your favorite jobs via email, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Login to your jobseeker account so that all job-search activity is recorded; this feature is particularly important for those receiving unemployment benefits.

Download today for the newest, most convenient way to search for jobs in South Carolina.

DEW’s Veterans Services Formula Proves Successful

jobschatlogoDon’t forget to join our Twitter chat this Wednesday, September 18 from 5-7:30 p.m. as employment experts answer your questions regarding free veteran job-search resources.

Though the veterans’ unemployment rate in South Carolina is decreasing, at 6.9 percent, there is still work to be done.

The Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) has free resources to help veterans get back to work, and can even help individuals secure stable housing while doing so.

DEW’s priority service to veterans is a formula with proven success. Take Leah Fennell, for instance.

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                                        Leah Fennell

In December 2012, 15 women and 19 children were found living under an overpass at the intersection of King and Meeting streets in Charleston. The women were all veterans whose ages ranged from 23 to 46.

Leah Fennell was one of those women, later deemed the “Charleston 15.”

With the help of individuals from the DEW, SC Works and the Charleston community the families were placed into transitional housing and worked with DEW to get jobs.—Most, if not all, have now found full-time employment.

Leah is no longer homeless and began working full-time in May 2013 at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center as a medical support assistant.

To read more about the upcoming Twitter chat and learn how you can get reemployment assistance, click here.

Useful data for your job search

Whether you are starting college, entering the workforce or a seasoned worker looking for a new career, industry and employment projections can be an asset to your job search.

Produced and published by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) each year, these data driven projections estimate industry employment changes occurring throughout the state’s 12 workforce investment areas.

Want to know the growth potential for a particular field in your area of the state? Interested in emerging industry trends throughout South Carolina? You can find it all on DEW’s Labor Market Information website.

For example, take a look at 2010-2020 projected growth in manufacturing.

Graph

According to the data, the state is expected to gain 16,619 manufacturing jobs by 2020.

Want to know more? Check out the most recent industry and occupational projections under the Employment and Wage data tab here.

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Applying for unemployment benefits can be a confusing process during an already stressful time. The SC Department of Employment and Workforce wants to make the process as simple as possible.

That’s why there are newly-created user guides that take you through the online filing process including how to:

Feel free to print these guides, pick up copies from a service location near you or access them anytime online.

Tutorials

We also created a step-by-step video tutorial that explains the process in even more detail. Check that out here.

Not sure what wages to report weekly? There’s a video for that too!

You can apply for and manage unemployment benefits anytime, anywhere online through the MyBenefits portal. If you need internet access, check out a service location near you for free computer usage.

If you need further assistance or experience technical difficulties, speak to a service representative weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1.866.831.1724, option 4, then option 1 .

Get Step-by-step help on reporting wages

An important part of filing your weekly claim for unemployment benefits includes accurately reporting any wages you earned that week. You must report any money earned before taxes even if you have not yet been paid.

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