How to Apply for Unemployment in South Dakota

Here’s how to get your unemployment claim started in South Dakota.

COVID-19 has left many people out of work, either temporarily or permanently. To help with this loss of income, each state offers its own unemployment benefits program. If you live in South Dakota and you need to apply for unemployment, this guide will answer all the questions you have about the process.

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Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

To qualify for unemployment benefits in South Dakota, you must be unemployed through no fault of your own and have met minimum earning requirements. South Dakota also has the following eligibility requirements you must meet every week to claim unemployment benefits:

  • You’re able and available to accept work.
  • You’re actively seeking work unless instructed otherwise by the Department of Labor and Regulation.
  • You’re registered with the state’s designated workforce agency.
  • You’ve participated in all required reemployment activities.
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The Department of Labor and Regulation has also clarified several scenarios regarding COVID-19 and unemployment claims. You’re eligible for unemployment benefits if:

  • You test positive for COVID-19 and are temporarily unable to work.
  • Your employer temporarily closes due to COVID-19.

Since you’re expected to return to work in both cases, you could receive up to 10 weeks of benefits without needing to search for jobs each week.

You’re also likely to be eligible for unemployment benefits if:

  • Your employer sends you home because they think you’re a risk or you are at risk.
  • Your hours are reduced. In this situation, you’d likely be eligible for partial unemployment benefits.

To meet minimum earning requirements, you need to have earned at least $728 in the highest quarter of your base period and have total earnings across three quarters that equal at least 20 times your weekly benefit (see below).

Your base period is the first four of the last five completed quarters before you filed your claim. For example, if you file in April 2020, your base period would be January to December 2019.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

The simplest way to apply for unemployment benefits is through the Department of Labor and Regulation’s claims page. You can also contact the Claims Call Center at 605-626-3179 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. CDT.

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You will need to fill in personal information such as your Social Security number and driver’s license. You’ll also need to give details of your employment history for the past 18 months, including your pay, dates of employment and the name and address of each employer.

Once you have completed your application, don’t forget to fill out the request for payment each week, even if your claim has not yet been approved.

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits?

Unemployment benefits in South Dakota range from $28 to $414 per week. Your weekly benefit amount will be 1/26 of the wages paid in the highest quarter of your base period, up to the maximum of $414.

You’ll receive a debit card where the Department of Labor and Regulations will send your weekly benefits. Alternatively, you can fill out a direct deposit form to have benefits sent directly to your bank account.

The government recently passed a stimulus package (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act) that should entitle claimants to an additional $600 per week through July 31, 2020. 

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?

You can collect unemployment benefits in South Dakota for up to 26 weeks. However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.

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What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If your unemployment claim is denied, you can appeal the decision. You must file your appeal in writing within 15 days of the mailing date of your determination. The determination will include instructions on how to file your appeal, and you may file it by mail or fax.

Getting financial help

Unemployment benefits won’t replace your full paycheck, but it’s an important financial step that will at least ensure you’re not entirely without income. And if you’re having money troubles, make sure you check out where you can get financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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