Labor Department accepting unemployment claims from workers affected by COVID-19

The Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) is accepting reemployment assistance (unemployment insurance) claims from workers who are not able to work due to COVID-19. Eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is changing every hour, and we want to ensure South Dakotans have options to receive temporary fi nancial assistance if their jobs are impacted,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “I encourage employers to be fl exible and to contact my Department of Labor with any questions at DLRRADivision@ state.sd.us.”

Based on current guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, DLR is modifying existing unemployment compensation rules to allow workers to fi le a claim for unemployment compensation benefi ts who are affected in any of the following way:

• Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency,

• Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, or

• Those who test positive for COVID-19.

Workers can fi le for benefi ts online at raclaims.sd.gov or by calling 605-626-2452. Online fi ling is encouraged.

“Our call center wait time is approximately one hour due to the volume of new claims,” said state Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman. “Please don’t stress if you can’t get your claim fi led right away in the fi rst week. Claims can be back dated.”

Additionally, claimants will not have to search for other work provided they take reasonable steps to preserve their ability to come back to their job when the quarantine is lifted, or the illness subsides.

People who are being paid to work from home, or those receiving paid sick or vacation leave are NOT eligible for unemployment compensation benefi ts, regardless if they experience any or all of the situations listed above.

Employers who decide to shut down due to causes related to COVID-19 should treat the shutdown as a temporary layoff.

Please see Proposed Scenario Interpretations for more details.

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