Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Wage Requirements/Benefit Amount


Wage Requirements

To qualify for benefits you must have been paid wages by an employer that pays unemployment taxes, for civilian employment with the federal government or for active duty in the military service in two or more quarters of your base period.

Base Period

The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the effective date of your new claim for unemployment insurance benefits. The alternative base period is the last four completed quarters prior to the claim being filed.

There is a special base period for persons who are not monetarily eligible because they have not worked for an extended period due to a work-related injury. This base period can only be used if a claim is filed within 24 months after the injury.

Determining Weekly and Maximum Benefits

Your weekly benefit is 1/26th of the wages paid in the highest quarter of your base period, up to a maximum weekly benefit amount determined by the state’s average weekly wage. Your wages in the highest quarter of your base period must be at least $728.

Also, your wages in the other three quarters of your base period must be at least 20 times your weekly benefit.
The maximum amount payable in your benefit year is one-third your total base period wages, but not more than 26 times your weekly benefit.

Meeting the Wage Requirements

You will receive a monetary determination indicating your weekly and maximum benefit amount. This determination is usually mailed within five days after your new claim is filed. However, complications with missing wages or with out of state, federal or military separations and availability issues sometimes cause delays in the mailing of a monetary determination.

Remember, this is only the first step in determining your eligibility. You may be disqualified depending on the reason you became unemployed, or you may be denied benefits if you do not meet other eligibility requirements.

Seasonal Wages

Seasonal wages are wages earned with an employer who customarily suspends its operation for a period of five (5) months or more within a calendar year. To be eligible for a seasonal designation, an employer must request the designation and then the Department of Labor and Regulation must approve it.

Seasonal wages are used to determine your weekly benefit amount. However, the only time you can draw against seasonal wages is during the period the employer would normally be open for business.

You are notified on your monetary determination if you have seasonal wages.

Wages from More than One State

If you worked in more than one state, you may be eligible for a Combined Wage Claim. To use wages earned in another state:

  • Report all work performed in any state in the last 18 months, including federal and military, on your new claim for benefits.
  • Provide complete names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of employment.

The monetary determination will tell you if wage information from another state, federal government or the military is pending.

A revised monetary determination will be sent to you when the information is received.

Interstate Claims

If you worked in a state other than South Dakota and now live in South Dakota, an interstate claim can be filed against the state where you worked. Most states will take your claim by calling the state directly. Filing information including telephone numbers can be obtained by contacting Customer Service at 605.626.2452. The state where you worked will make all determinations on your eligibility according to its laws and regulations.

Federal/Military Employment

The Unemployment Insurance Division of South Dakota will pay benefits to federal employees and ex-military personnel under provisions of the South Dakota Unemployment Insurance Law. All former federal employees and ex-military personnel must meet the same eligibility requirements as other individuals claiming unemployment insurance.

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