Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Frequently Asked Questions

What are unemployment insurance benefits?

Do I pay for unemployment insurance out of my paycheck?

How do I apply for benefits?

When should I apply for benefits?

What information do I need to have with me when I file?

Will my former employer be notified if I file for benefits?

What must I do to be eligible for unemployment insurance?

How long will it take before I receive my first payment?

When can I expect to receive my payment after filing a weekly certification?

How will I receive my benefit payments?

Do I need to search for work?

Can I attend school or training and collect unemployment benefits?

If I quit or am fired from my job, will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

What can I do if I disagree with a decision?

Are unemployment insurance benefits taxable?

Who can I contact with questions?

What are unemployment insurance benefits?

Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary assistance to eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and are either looking for full-time work or awaiting recall to employment. They are not based on financial need.

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Do I pay for unemployment insurance out of my paycheck?

No. Unemployment insurance benefits are paid by your employer through taxes on your wages. Nothing is ever withheld from your paycheck to pay for unemployment benefits.

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How do I apply for benefits?

Log in and apply for benefits online or call the Claims Call Center at 605.626.3179. (Persons with hearing or speaking impairments can call the Relay Service of South Dakota at 800.877.1113) 8:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. (CST) Monday through Friday.

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When should I apply for benefits?

You should file a claim for benefits on or after your last day of work. A claim filed on a Sunday is effective that Sunday, and a claim filed on Monday through Saturday is effective on the Sunday preceding the date the claim was filed.

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What information do I need to have with me when I file?

You will need the following information to file:

  • Social Security Number
  • Driver’s license number or other state identification number
  • Your employment history for the last 18 months, including business names, complete addresses and phone numbers of all employers
  • The name and local number of your union hall, if you obtain work through the union
  • Your Alien Registration Number if you are not a U.S. Citizen
  • Your SF-8 and SF-50 forms if you are a federal employee
  • Your DD214 if you served in the military

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Will my former employer be notified if I file for benefits?

Yes. A notification of claim is sent to the employer requesting verification of the dates of employment and the reason you separated.

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What must I do to be eligible for unemployment insurance?

In order to be eligible for benefits you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be partially or totally unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • You must have sufficient wages in the base period to establish a monetary entitlement.
  • You must be a US citizen or legally authorized to work in the US.
  • You must be able and available to accept work.
  • You must be actively seeking work, unless we’ve told you otherwise.
  • You must be registered with your states designated workforce agency.

This list does not include all of the eligibility requirements. Your eligibility is determined based on your specific situation.

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How long will it take before I receive my first payment?

Your first payment can take up to four weeks after the claim is filed. The first eligible week of your claim is a non-paid waiting week.

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When can I expect to receive my payment after filing a weekly certification?

You can expect to receive payment for an eligible weekly certification within two business days of filing your weekly certification.

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How will I receive my benefit payments?

Your benefits will automatically be direct deposited to a Visa Reliacard debit card. See the FAQ about the Debit Card for more information. Direct deposit is also available upon request. To enroll in direct deposit, either complete the direct deposit enrollment form located on the back side of the Reliacard information sheet included separately in your claimant packet, or log on to the website and select the “Change Payment Method” option.

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Do I need to search for work?

Yes. The unemployment insurance division will notify you when you file your claim if you are required to search for work by making a minimum of two job contacts each week. You will be required to provide your job contact information when you file your weekly certification. Your reported job contacts are subject to verification.

If you are exempt from having to search for work due to being on recall to return to work for your employer, you MUST notify the department of any changes in your recall status. If you are no longer on recall to go back to work for your employer, you must reopen your unemployment claim immediately to receive the proper work search instructions.

Can I attend school or training and collect unemployment benefits?

You can receive unemployment benefits if the department determines your schooling or training does not interfere with your availability for full-time work. If you are attending classes or receiving training, this information must be reported.

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If I quit or am fired from my job, will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

Generally, unemployment benefits are only available to persons who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. Eligibility for unemployment benefits can only be determined once the claim is filed and facts are obtained from you and your former employer.

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What can I do if I disagree with a decision?

Your determination notice will explain how and when to appeal if you disagree with a decision. Read these decisions carefully and timely as your appeal rights expire within 15 days.

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Are unemployment insurance benefits taxable?

Yes. Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) income-tax law does not require us to withhold taxes from your weekly unemployment benefits. However, you may choose to have 10 percent of your weekly benefits deducted for income-tax purposes. Both you and the Internal Revenue Service will receive a year-end statement (Form 1099-G) in January, indicating the total amount of UI Benefits paid to you for the previous calendar year. The total also includes benefits you may have paid back because of an overpayment.

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Who can I contact with questions?

Contact our Customer Service department at 605.626.2452.

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