If you have temporarily or permanently lost your job through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to unemployment compensation. As soon as you are terminated or laid off, you should contact your County Employment Security Commission office. You must fill out forms requesting that unemployment compensation benefits be started. You must also register for work through the Job Service office, make a serious effort to get another job, be physically able to work and be available for work without undue restriction (have child care, transportation and so on).

Once you have applied for unemployment compensation, your employer may report that you voluntarily quit without good cause or that you were discharged for bad attendance, violating work rules or another disqualifying reason. The Commission can decide at that point to penalize or disqualify you for a portion or all of your unemployment benefits. If you are disqualified from receiving benefits, you have the right to appeal this decision. You must continue to file your weekly claims during the appeal, otherwise you can not be paid even if you win the appeal. You may want to contact a lawyer. The most that a lawyer is permitted to charge you is $9; 5 for each appeal hearing which he attends, plus mileage expenses.

If you receive unemployment benefits without any disqualification, your first week after filing for benefits is a "waiting week" and no benefits are paid for this week. Thereafter, you should receive a weekly check until you have used up all of your benefits or have found another job.

Remember, if you lose your job temporarily or permanently through no fault of your own, you should go immediately to your local Employment Security Commission office and file an application for unemployment compensation. You may lose some benefits if you wait.

This information was prepared to give you some general information on the law. It is not intended as legal advice about any particular problem. If you have questions about the law you should consult a lawyer. If you do not know a lawyer, you can call the South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The number is 799-7100 in Richland or Lexington Counties, and 1-800-868-2284 from other parts of the state.