South Dakota loosens jobless claims rules due to COVID-19

Published: Mar. 22, 2020 at 3:01 PM CDT
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South Dakota will waive the requirement workers filing for unemployment must actively search for work to be eligible for benefits.

This waiver remains effective until the governor’s declared state of emergency ends. The waiver period applies to weekly requests for payment filed for the week ending March 21 and forward.

“This change applies to everyone filing for unemployment compensation,” said Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman. “While many job search efforts are conducted online, waiving the requirement to search for work is in line with the social distancing practices needed to limit the spread of COVID-19 and potential exposure to the disease.”

The change will also accommodate those workers who are temporarily impacted by COVID-19, including those who are in an unpaid status or whose hours are reduced due to a shutdown or quarantine.

Job seekers are encouraged to continue searching

, as employers are still actively seeking workers.

To file a weekly request for payment, visit

or call 605-626-3212. The application will ask: “Did you make contacts for employment as instructed?” Claimants should select, “no” and write “not required” in the comment box.

The non-paid waiting week, typically the first week of compensable benefits, is still in effect.

“We will continue to look at ways to streamline the process of filing for and receiving unemployment insurance benefits as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve,” said Hultman.

View a list of scenario interpretations about eligibility. Many variables can affect a worker’s eligibility and an employer’s liability for benefits. Each case is examined on a case-by-case basis.