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All About The Reduction In The Extended Benefits In North Carolina

Updated : November 2nd, 2022

The North Carolina Department Of Commerce Employment Security provided benefits for up to 9.6 weeks due to the soaring unemployment rate. However, recently, the Department announced that it would reduce the number of extended unemployment benefits weeks extended. This article will tell you why there is a reduction in the extended benefits in North Carolina and lots more. 

Why Is There A Reduction In The Extended Benefits In North Carolina?

The unemployment rate in North Carolina was as high as 8.5% in July. Therefore, the Department Of Commerce Employment Security had announced the extended benefits in the state. However, with the economy reopening, the North Carolina unemployment rate fell 7.3% in September. 

Although the state’s unemployment rate rose by 3.6% compared to last year. Since the rate decreased compared to previous months, the Department announced to reduce the extended benefits beginning October 10. 

That means the North Carolinians will receive a total of 31 weeks of unemployment benefits (12 weeks of regular Unemployment Insurance + 13 weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits + 6 weeks of extended benefits). 

Since mid-March, about 1.33 million North Carolinians have filed an unemployment claim. Many people have also filed a second initial unemployment claim to begin receiving federal benefits, accounting for 2.65 million total claims. 

North Carolina had about $3.85 billion in the state Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund in mid-March. The third COVID-19 relief bill added $87 million to the state fund.

Who Qualifies For The Extended Benefits In North Carolina?

To qualify for the extended benefits in North Carolina, claimants should meet several eligibility criteria. They include:

1. The claimants should be able, available, and actively look for work.

2. The claimants should maintain a record of work search activities and contact information of employers they approached and submit them to the Department when requested.

3. The claimants have weeks with earnings of not less than 4 times their weekly unemployment benefit amount.

4. The claimants must accept any work they can perform if the following conditions are met.

  • The gross weekly pay exceeds their weekly benefit amount 
  • The amount of any supplemental unemployment payments is equal to or greater than the state and federal defined minimum wage

Note – 

  1. The claimants are required to report to their local office of the Employment Security Commission regularly. 
  2. When reporting to the Employment Security Commission, the claimants should bring their work search written record. Unless they show proof of likelihood of returning to work in a reasonably short period, the Commission will not accept the application. Also, failure to meet the work search requirements or accept a job or even look for a job may result in ineligibility for extended benefits.

How To Apply For The Extended Benefits In North Carolina?

One will not receive the extended benefits in North Carolina automatically. The claimant should file a claim online at or by phone by calling 1-888-737-0259. 

After you submit an initial claim, the Department will review the application. If you are deemed to be eligible for the extended benefits, the Department will mail you a Form NCEB-550 (monetary determination). The form will show your weekly benefit amount, your maximum benefit amount, and the effective processing date of your extended benefits claim. Upon receiving the Form NCEB-550, claimants can file weekly certifications.

Note – Monetary eligibility for the extended benefits is limited to 50% of the total amount you received under the regular Unemployment Insurance program. 

How Much Benefits Will A Claimant Receive Through The Extended Benefits?

Under the extended benefits program, a claimant will receive a benefit amount the same as he or she receives through the regular unemployment program. At present, a claimant can receive $265 average weekly and $350 maximum unemployment benefits in North Carolina.  

Will There Be Extension Of Unemployment Benefits In 2021? 

As of now, the Department has not given any updates on North Carolina’s unemployment extension in 2020. However, residents who become jobless or are furloughed in 2021 may receive an extra 4 weeks of regular Unemployment Insurance benefits. This is possible due to the state law passed in July 2013.

The increase to 16 weeks from 12 weeks can act as a boon for North Carolinians since the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, created under the CARES Act, are scheduled to expire December 26, 2020.

Additional $50 Unemployment Benefits In North Carolina

Although the extended benefits period is shorter, the state’s passed House Bill 1105, Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0, and created a new program known as the Increased Benefit Amount. Under the Increased Benefit Amount program, the residents will get extra $50 weekly unemployment benefits. 

Note that not everyone will receive additional benefits but only those who meet certain eligibility requirements. The program will provide extra benefits starting retroactively with the benefit week that began on September 6, 2020, through the week ending December 26, 2020. 

Closing Thoughts

North Carolina is one of the states to have a minimum number of regular unemployment weeks. With a reduction in the extended benefits, there is no doubt that the residents will have a tough time meeting their basic needs. Therefore a new extension or program is needed for the hour in the state. Let’s wait and see if the Department will extend benefits or take some other step to help the needy residents. 


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