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South Dakota Unemployment

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Unemployment is an issue that workers throughout the country may face at some point in their lives. For these reasons, states offer unemployment insurance (UI) as a support system for local workers who are terminated from their previous positions. This program, which is also named unemployment compensation (UC), receives its funds through employers’ tax contributions. Petitioners who are eligible to collect through a South Dakota unemployment claim can use these funds to support their dependents and themselves while they seek new work opportunities.

Unemployment insurance benefits in SD are allocated by the state’s Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR). This department is also responsible for establishing uniform qualifications for unemployment enrollment that petitioners across the state must meet. The paragraphs below provide a detailed summary as to how applicants may self-determine whether or not they meet these UI requirements. Additional sections provided below explain how enrollees can submit an unemployment denial appeal if their applications are refused and the process for requesting their benefits each week.

What is unemployment in South Dakota?

The South Dakota unemployment program is distributed through a robust program and is utilized by workers in different regions throughout the state. To maximize their benefits, enrollees should apply for UI benefits either on the first day when they are without work or on their final day in their terminating positions. Even if enrollees know days in advance that they will soon be without work, candidates may not apply for unemployment insurance benefits before they lose their jobs.

An unemployment claim is only active for 365 days since it is intended to be a provisional way for unemployed workers to support themselves through their professional changes. However, enrollees are not permitted to receive UI benefits for the entirety of that year. In fact, recipients may only collect UI benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks for each claim they file. The state also imposes a maximum weekly benefit amount (WBA) that SD unemployment insurance enrollees may receive. However, this total may fluctuate from time to time because it is based upon employees’ average statewide weekly earnings.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in South Dakota?

South Dakota eligibility for unemployment prerequisites must be met by claimants who wish to receive program benefits. These provisions relate to various aspects of candidates’ petitions. This is important because it permits the DLR to gain a holistic understanding of applicants’ profiles before issuing decisions regarding their acceptance. Qualitative unemployment insurance eligibility requirements include:

  • Unemployed due to circumstances they could not manage: To receive UC benefits, enrollees must be out of work for reasons that were not their own fault. For example, claimants have been discharged from their positions because there were labor shortages or because the company shut down.
  • Legal residents or legally residing in the country: United States citizens who meet all other program requirements are eligible to receive UC benefits. Non-citizens who have the proper documentation and are legally permitted to work in the country may be eligible to obtain UI compensation.
  • Physically able to work their jobs: Unemployment insurance is not the same as disability benefits. Therefore, enrollees who receive UC must be physically capable of performing the jobs they are applying for.
  • Ready to accept suitable job offers: Applicants must maintain full availability so they are able to begin working as soon as possible. Similarly, candidates must ensure they have transport to and from their occupations. Furthermore, petitioners must not have any obligations that would permit them from working during their industry’s traditional hours.

There are also specific qualifications for unemployment that relate to financial readiness. To determine who qualifies for unemployment in terms of these financial stipulations, the DLR appraises candidates’ earnings during their base periods. Base periods are generally defined as the first four of the last five concluded calendar quarters that took place before petitioners filed their claims. Once candidates’ base periods are determined, the DLR considers whether or not petitioners earned at least $728 during the quarter when they earned the most wages.

How can I sign up for unemployment in South Dakota?

Whether researching how to apply for unemployment online or how to apply for UC over the phone, petitioners must prepare relevant information beforehand. Gathering this documentation before claimants apply for unemployment benefits will help ensure they will be able to complete their petitions in a timely manner. All applicants must submit:

  • Proof of identity: To validate the fact that enrollees are who they claim to be, petitioners must submit their Social Security Numbers. If applicable, petitioners may also include their driver’s license and state identification numbers. Claimants who were born abroad must submit their Alien Registration Numbers.
  • Work summary: Claimants must submit a detailed account of their work history. This document must encase every professional position applicants held in the previous 18 months. Specifically, petitioners must divulge the companies they worked for, as well as the businesses’ addresses and phone numbers. Furthermore, claimants must describe the reasons that led to their terminations with these businesses, the wages they earned at each location and the dates when they were employed there.

Petitioners looking into where to sign up for unemployment in SD should keep in mind they may also be required to submit additional information. This requirement varies depending on the jobs they had before becoming unemployed. In particular, candidates who:

  • Joined a union must submit their union halls’ names and local numbers.
  • Worked for the federal government are required to turn in either a copy of their SF-8 or SF-50.
  • Served with the national military will be asked to provide a copy of their DD Form 214.

Once claimants file for an unemployment claim, they must remember it may take at least a month for the DLR to issue its first checks to these petitioners. Nevertheless, successful applicants should keep in mind that even after they file for unemployment, they will not receive reimbursement for the first week they request. The first week is a waiting week and enrollees are unable to accept payment during the seven-day period.

How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in South Dakota?

Most claimants will need to prepare for the unemployment insurance interview after they submit their program applications. The DLR will require the completion of an unemployment phone interview with petitioners if the department has any doubts about specific portions of their application materials. These conversations are conducted on an individual basis. As a result, the questions asked during the unemployment interview are candidate-specific. However, candidates may still prepare for these conversations ahead of time.

The unemployment interview with the claimant is direct and usually revolves around the reasons that led to petitioners’ respective job losses. The DLR must be positive it is not the applicants’ fault that they are unemployed. Therefore, candidates may prepare for the UI interview by gathering any documents that directly relate to how they lost their jobs. This could include records from conversations or meetings they had with their human resources representatives or supervisors. Similarly, petitioners who are using their unemployment phone interview to discuss breaches in their contract that led to job loss should have these documents on hand. Preparing copies of their employee manuals is also helpful. Regardless, candidates must be sure to have any tangible proof that supports their claims or timelines ready for the interview.

An unemployment interview with the employer is sometimes also requested by the DLR. These conversations are usually necessary when the department needs to clarify what led to the applicants’ terminations. However, petitioners are not required to take part in these conversations. The employer and applicant interviews are conducted separately. The DLR uses the information it gleans in the employers’ unemployment phone interview to cross-check enrollees’ statements.

How do I claim unemployment benefits in South Dakota?

Many candidates assume that they will begin to steadily claim unemployment benefits in South Dakota as soon as the DLR accepts their applications but this is not the case. To keep an unemployment benefits claim active and to receive funds, candidates must file payment requests each week. Petitioners can claim UC benefits either online or over the phone. With these requests, the DLR determines whether or not petitioners are still eligible to receive UC. Furthermore, the department uses these petitions to assess how much funds enrollees are granted from week to week. As a result, recipients who are claiming benefits for unemployment must address questions that relate to the following topics:

  • Claimants are required to attest whether or not they worked during the weeks they are claiming benefits. This includes contract work, salary-based work or self-employment endeavors. Applicants must be sure to report how many hours they worked as well.
  • Income: If petitioners earned any wages during the weeks they are claiming benefits for unemployment, they must report the figures they earned. In particular, enrollees are obligated to report their gross incomes for each role they occupied. Claimants must also be sure to claim any tips they earned during this time.
  • Reimbursement: Enrollees who were paid unused holiday, vacation or sick time must report the total amount they received. Beneficiaries must disclose if they were compensated with any severance pay.
  • Work availability: Program participants must certify that they were physically able to work every day during the weeks they are claiming. Candidates are also obligated to disclose whether or not they had any scheduling conflicts during the weeks that would have prohibited them from working full-time.

Finally, enrollees who claim unemployment benefits in SD must also be sure they complete and document the DLR’s work search requirements. First, candidates are obligated to register for employment with the DLR. Second, recipients are required to make at least two employee contacts each week they are enrolled in UI. When documenting their reemployment efforts for certification purposes, candidates must report:

  • What businesses they contacted.
  • Who they corresponded with.
  • When contact was made.
  • How they established contact.
  • Where the companies are located.

What do I do if I am denied unemployment in South Dakota?

If claimants are denied unemployment benefits, the DLR gives them the chance to appeal these decisions. While the appeal provides no guarantee that the department will change its decision, it does allow for a new program representative to evaluate the applicants’ cases. Additionally, employers who are dissatisfied with the DLR’s determinations may also request to have these decisions reviewed.

Petitioners who are denied unemployment benefits in South Dakota have 15 days from when their determinations are mailed to file their requests. Within their appeals, claimants must provide their names, Social Security Numbers and their reasons for requesting these appeals. Both parties must submit their requests via fax, mail or hand delivery.

No fewer than seven days before the unemployment denial appeal hearing is set to take place, participating parties receive Notices of Hearing. These documents arrive in the mail and contain information relating to the times and dates that the hearings will take place. Telephone hearings are an option, as are in-person hearings at the local DLR office.

Once the administrative law judges (ALJs) have heard both sides’ testimonies and evidence in the denied UI hearings, they make their decisions. These determinations are also mailed to the petitioners and their employers. If either group rejects these decisions, they have the right to an additional appeal. However, these requests must be submitted to the Circuit Court.

How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in South Dakota?  

A federal unemployment extension in South Dakota is a Congress-issued measure that permits UC enrollees to receive additional program benefits. Under normal circumstances, petitioners are eligible to receive UI benefits throughout the state for a maximum of 26 weeks during a single calendar year. However, during periods when an unemployment benefits extension is available, program participants may collect UI compensation beyond this limit. An unemployment extension becomes available either to individual states or on a country-wide basis. In either case, petitioners are notified by their local unemployment office when these enrollment periods become available.

How do I contact the South Dakota unemployment office?

The South Dakota unemployment office can be reached by phone if petitioners have questions regarding their claims. Employers may also contact the UI unemployment benefits office with any inquiries they have about their former workers’ petitions. Each party has a specific line they may call and there is also a general number that individuals may call. However, petitioners also have the option of visiting their local SD unemployment insurance office to ask their questions in person. The Pierre Job Service office is located at:

116 W Missouri Avenue

Pierre, South Dakota 57501



Who pays for unemployment in South Dakota?

In the state of South Dakota, unemployment benefits are paid by employers through taxes on employee wages. Wages are never withheld from employees in order to pay for unemployment benefits.

How long will it take to get my first payment?

Although every case is unique and time frames may vary, in the state of South Dakota it can take up to 4 weeks to receive your first payment after filing your claim. Keep in mind that your first week of eligibility is a waiting week and is usually not a paid week.


What is a Way2Go Card?

In South Dakota, benefits can be distributed in 2 ways, through direct deposit or through a Way2Go Card. If you choose to get your benefits through the Way2Go Card, you will be able to use your benefits as soon as they are deposited into your account. The Way2Go Card can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted.


Am I eligible for unemployment if I quit?

Usually, unemployment benefits are given to individuals who are fired from their jobs through no fault of their own. However, there are certain instances where someone who quits may still qualify for unemployment.

South Dakota Unemployment Office Locations