North Carolina Unemployment Benefits
North Carolina offers Unemployment Insurance (UI) to citizens who have lost their jobs. They can apply for unemployment benefits if they are ‘laid off’ from work or unemployed with no fault of their own. On this page, you will find all the information you need to successfully apply for benefits, such as eligibility criteria, methods to apply, required documentation, and more.
Eligibility To Apply For UI Benefits In North Carolina
To filter genuine UI claimants, North Carolina’s unemployment insurance agency has set certain criteria that you need to meet to claim weekly Unemployment Benefits.
One of the parameters set by North Carolina for eligibility is that you must fulfill the requirement of earning the minimum stipulated wages in the base period.
A base period is a time frame during which an applicant is expected to have earned the required amount of wages to gain eligibility for unemployment benefits. In North Carolina, it generally includes the first four of the last five completed quarters.
Note: A calendar quarter is a set of three-month time periods used to categorize a base year.
To gain monetary eligibility, you need to meet the following criteria set by the state of North Carolina:
- You must have received wages in at least two quarters of your base period.
- You must have received wages totaling at least six times the average weekly wages during your base period.
- If you do not have enough wages, your wage criterion is determined by calculating your wages in the last four completed calendar quarters immediately before the first day of your benefit period. You should note that the alternative benefit period may not be used to make a claim after your first benefit year.
- You must have at least $780 in the last two quarters to establish the minimum weekly benefit amount of $15. North Carolina has set a maximum limit for WBA at $350
- In North Carolina, the weekly benefit amount is calculated by adding wages in the last two base period quarters, dividing it by 52, and rounding it to the next lower whole Dollar.
You will receive a Wage Transcript and Monetary Determination. This letter will contain all the necessary information about you, including all the employers you’ve worked for and the wages you’ve received.
The Wage Transcript and Monetary Determination letter will also contain information on your estimated weekly benefit, maximum benefit amount, and the number of weeks you will receive benefits. You are expected to read this letter and verify if your wages are correct.
After establishing monetary eligibility, the next step to qualify for benefits is to establish the reason for separation from your previous organization.
You should note that the North Carolina Unemployment Insurance program is not applicable for anyone unemployed. The State law mandates that the benefits should only be given to those who lost their jobs due to no fault of theirs.
The reason for your job separation also comes into play when determining your eligibility. Please check and assess if the following apply to you or not:
- You must not have lost your job due to any fault of yours.
- You must not have quit the job of your own volition.
- You were not involved in any unethical or illegal activities, resulting in your exit from the previous organization.
- You were laid off from work, or your working hours were shortened due to lack of work.
North Carolina’s Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security will verify your claims about job separation. The department may contact your ex-employers to corroborate your claim with your ex-employer. If it is found that your claim does not match with that of your previous employer, your eligibility for benefits will be withheld.
Once you establish that you are monetarily eligible and that you lost your job due to no fault of yours, you will gain qualification for monetary benefits. You must, however, remember that you should maintain the eligibility factors throughout all the weeks you would receive benefits.
To make sure that you receive your weekly benefits every week without any hurdles, make sure to adhere to the following points:
- You must be able and available to work at all times in the weeks you receive monetary benefits.
- You must possess the mental and physical capacity to work.
- Report any wages you earn during the benefits weeks without fail.
- Report to the department immediately if you receive employment during the benefits weeks.
- You must register with the North Carolina Division of Workforce Solutions for work at NCWorks online.
- You must actively pursue work throughout the benefits weeks. You must make at least three contacts with potential employers in a week.
- You must follow the rules and prevent yourself from committing fraud by providing false or misleading information or by withholding important information.
How To Apply For UI Benefits In NC?
To apply for unemployment benefits in North Carolina, you will need the following documents:
- Your Social Security Number.
- Details from your most recent employer about separation, vacation, or severance pay you received, will receive, or are entitled to receive.
- Details regarding any retirement pay (gross monthly amount of pay along with proof).
- Your bank routing number and account number if you would like unemployment payments directly deposited into your bank account. If you do not select direct deposit, payment will be placed on a DES-issued debit card.
- Your work history for the past two years (employer name as it appears on your check stub, employer’s payroll and physical addresses, telephone number, employment dates, rate of pay, and reason for separation from each employer).
You can file for unemployment benefits in North Carolina through the following methods:
The most convenient way to file a claim is by doing so through the North Carolina’s Division of Employment Security website – https://des.nc.gov/. You will have to create a login ID and password to create your new online account. If you do not have access to computers, you can use the computers at your local NCWorks Career Center.
In the event you do not have access to computers, you may also file claims through a phone call. Dial 888-737-0259 to register your claims over a telephone call.
How To File Weekly Claims
You can file your weekly claims through the DES website. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can also certify your weekly claims by calling the customer care number – 1-888-737-0259.
Note – If you have any questions regarding your responsibilities or the schemes introduced by the department, contact DES by calling 1-888-737-0259.
UI Benefits Amount
Things To Know After Filing An Application
You are expected to follow certain guidelines after filing for unemployment benefits in North Carolina. Not following these guidelines may create problems for claimants and may result in a stoppage of monetary benefits as well.
Overpayments And Collections
An overpayment occurs when you receive benefits to which you are not entitled, either inadvertently or through willful misdirection. Examples of overpayment include undisclosed earnings, fake documents submission, not reporting your new job or your new source of income, etc.
North Carolina overpayments fall into two types – Fraudulent and Non-Fraudulent.
A fraudulent overpayment occurs when you knowingly provide false or misleading information to get benefits or to extend the benefits weeks. The Division of Economic Security takes cases of fraud very seriously. Any fraudulent cases that exceed $400 can be prosecuted as a felony in the state of North Carolina.
A non-fraudulent overpayment occurs when you receive an overpayment, but it was determined that there was no objective to mislead or falsify data to your advantage. Non-Fraudulent overpayments occur due to administrative miscalculations arising due to unintentional errors committed by you, the employer, or by the DES.
What can you do if you receive overpayments in North Carolina?
You need to repay all overpayments to the Division of Employment Security. If you’re receiving UI benefits and have an overpayment balance, your benefits will be cut by 50% for non-fraud overpayments and by 100% for fraud overpayments.
The DES may collect overpaid amounts by:
- Pursuing criminal prosecution and/or civil court action.
- Garnishing your state tax refund
- Garnishing your federal tax refund.
- Garnishing your lottery winnings.
To avoid garnishments, you should repay the overpaid amount in full. If you can’t afford to do so, you can reach out to DES and arrange a payment agreement.
You can make payments by:
- Debit Card
- Credit Card or
- Money Order
You can make credit and debit card payments online. Payments by check or money order must be made payable to N.C. Division of Employment Security. Remember to include your name and claimant identification number while posting.
Mail the checks or money orders to:
N.C. Division of Employment Security
Benefits Payment Control Unit
Post Office Box 25903
Raleigh, NC 27611-5903
Further Reading: How to Settle the Overpayment of Benefits
The state offers a benefits extension when the unemployment rate is too high, or there is an economic downturn. Contact DES to know more about the benefits extension in the state.
Job Training Assistance
The workforce system of North Carolina, NCWorks, provides ample training and education opportunities to job seekers. The platform provides a whole list of career services to help job seekers prepare better for the changing dynamics of the job market.
NCWorks offers the following services to job-seekers free of charge:
- Offers career assessment and guidance to those who are seeking to find job opportunities
- Assesses aspirants to guide them on relevant training and education programs
- Provides information to job aspirants on job fairs and workshops
- Provides access to computers with internet access in the NCWorks Center for registered job aspirants
You can avail of the following services online on the website of NCWorks:
- Exploring job opportunities
- Resume Builder
- Job market trends
- Letter Builder
- Virtual Recruiter (This feature helps in scheduling a recurring search for job openings that matches your qualification)
The NCWorks also helps job aspirants find workplace training as the requirements of the job aspirants. The center also offers ollowing options to help you acquire some job experience:
- On-the-job training