What is the Federal Government Doing in Response to COVID-19?

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Here's a list of the agencies responding to coronavirus (COVID-19).

How Are States Responding to COVID-19?

Visit your state Health Department website for the latest coronavirus information, resources, and guidance.


What are your benefits? Click here to go to the Government Benefits website.

Many people are experiencing unexpected difficulties during the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Benefits.gov is here to help.

On Benefits.gov, you can find government benefits related to unemployment assistancehealthcare, and food and nutrition. You can also take our Benefit Finder to find additional benefits you may be eligible for.

For more information on the coronavirus, refer to Coronavirus.gov, offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House.

Benefits.gov does not administer benefits or accept applications for benefits. While we cannot answer questions about benefit applications, cases, or personal situations, we can help guide you on the next steps in the application process. For application information, refer to the Application Process or 'Quick Info' sections on each benefit page.

Per an article from The State:


Apply for unemployment insurance immediately by submitting a claim to South Carolina’s Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW). In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, DEW is taking extra steps to quickly extend benefits to unemployed workers.


On March 19, the department eliminated its usual one-week waiting period for people who apply for unemployment insurance between March 15 and April 18. That means payment to approved claimants should arrive one week earlier.

Check eligibility requirements and disqualifications on the DEW website, dew.sc.gov.

While your claim is being evaluated, call early in the day (lines open at 8 a.m. on weekdays and close at 4 p.m.) and routinely check on the status of your claim. To speak to a representative about a claim, call the DEW toll-free line at 1-866-831-1724 and select option 3. Other useful phone numbers can be found at dew.sc.gov/contact. Stay on top of communications from the agency.

On March 19, DEW also suspended the requirement that unemployment insurance claimants apply to two jobs per week in order to receive benefits. That waiver applies to those who apply for unemployment between March 15 and April 18.

The maximum weekly benefit offered in South Carolina is $326 before taxes, according to the DEW.


Exceptions to the job application requirement also apply when employers who submit unemployment claims on behalf of their employees during a “temporary shutdown” or slowdown in business. Those workers can receive six weeks of unemployment insurance without needing to apply for other jobs.

If you are laid off, ask your employer about continuing health care coverage after your departure. Find out if you are eligible to receive severance pay or accrued vacation pay. Ask supervisors to confirm in writing that they won’t contest your unemployment claim.

If you are on good terms with your managers, ask for help to find other work opportunities. Lean on your professional and personal network to search for open positions.

If you need additional help, such as with affording basic needs, you can apply for various assistance programs — such as SNAP (formerly referred to as “food stamps”) — through the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Soup kitchens, food pantries and homeless shelters in the Midlands that serve meals plan to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.


Will S.C. extend unemployment insurance for people whose benefits are about to expire during the coronavirus pandemic?

No. State law allows benefits to be provided for up to 20 weeks — consecutive or not — within a calendar year.

“If someone started receiving benefits at the beginning of January and has consecutively taken benefits since then, they would be around the 11 of 20 week mark at this time,” DEW spokesperson Heather Biance said.

Will I still need to apply to at least two jobs per week in order to receive benefits, even if I lost my job due to the coronavirus pandemic?

Not if you applied between March 15 and April 18, 2020. On Thursday, DEW waived the job application requirement for laid off workers who submit unemployment insurance claims within the specified time frame, since the coronavirus is impacting South Carolina’s workforce and employers."


Benefits Eligibility Requirements

To determine if you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits, you must file an initial claim with DEW. Filing a claim is the only way for eligibility to be determined. The department will review your claim and determine if you meet the requirements to receive benefits.

Note: Employers finance the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program through tax contributions; it is not welfare, and funds are not withheld from your pay for these benefits.

The below requirements are outlined in the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 41.

Situational Requirements

These requirements are a general guideline, and the outcome of your claim depends on your specific situation.

  1. You’re unemployed. (If you currently work less than full time due to being out of work and earn less than your weekly benefit amount, you’re still considered unemployed. When filing your weekly claim, report all work you performed and wages earned that week. Continue to seek full-time work.)
  2. It was not your fault you lost your job from your most recent employer.
  3. You're able to work.
  4. You’re available for work and willing to take any suitable offer.
  5. You report to your local comprehensive SC Works center as required.
  6. You must actively search for suitable work each week that you file a weekly certification for unemployment insurance benefits. Suitable work includes any trade, occupation, or business in which you are qualified based on your training or experience, and which pays at least 90% of your previous salary during your first eight paid weeks of unemployment and 75% of your previous salary after eight paid weeks of unemployment.
  7. You must complete at least two (2) work searches through SC Works Online Services (jobs.scworks.org) each week that you file a certification.

Monetary Requirements

To be monetarily eligible for UI benefits, you must:

  1. Have at least $1,092 in covered employment (with an employer who paid UI taxes) during the base period’s* highest quarter.
  2. Have earned at least $4,455 from covered employment during the base period*.
  3. Have total base period* wages that are equal to, or exceed, 1.5 times the high quarter wages’ total.

*The base period is defined as wages earned doing one year of insured work. Base-period wages typically establish monetary eligibility for UI benefits. There are two method’s used when calculating the base period: the standard base period and the alternate base period, both described below. When your initial claim is reviewed, DEW will decide which base period system your situation falls under. You will not have to determine this yourself.

Click here for information regarding weekly benefit amounts.


Even when sufficient wages qualify you for benefits, other reasons can disqualify you including:

  1. Leaving work voluntarily without good cause.
  2. Being discharged for misconduct connected with employment.
  3. Being discharged for cause, other than misconduct.
  4. Refusing to accept a suitable job offer from an SC Works center or employer.
  5. Voluntarily retiring.
  6. Becoming unemployed as a party to a labor dispute.

Click here to apply for Unemployment Benefits

SC Gov. McMaster signs $45M aid package to slow coronavirus after House OKs bill

▪ $14.8 million, on personal protective equipment for health care workers;

▪ $14.5 million, to cover additional staffing to help with disease surveillance and investigation, lab testing and information phone lines;

▪ $5.2 million, to cover technology, lab supplies, travel and cleaning costs;

▪ $5 million, on unanticipated costs based on the spread of COVID-19;

▪ $2.5 million, on an education campaign through television and radio ads and printed materials;

▪ $1.7 million, to cover the costs to quarantine and support indigent patients; and

▪ $1.3 million, to cover costs for lab samples and distribution of items from the Strategic National Stockpile.

Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.

    • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.
    • SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
    • Once a declaration is made, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the state.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
  • For questions, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail  disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Areas eligible for SBA disaster loans

Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Apply for a loan with SBA

Applicants are encouraged to apply online for a disaster loan. If you do not have access to a computer or smartphone, please call us at 1‐800‐659‐2955 for assistance.