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Updated : November 4th, 2022

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.

Monetary Eligibility

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.

Find out more about eligibility requirements

Job Separation

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.

Eligibility requirements – overview

Maintaining Eligibility

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.

Find out on job search requirements

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 – 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.

Learn how to claim weekly benefits

UI Benefits Amount

Benefits Calculator

Unemployment Benefits Calculator
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Unemployment Benefits Calculator
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Disclaimer: The estimates are good in faith and accuracy is not guaranteed. We are not liable for any loss and damages caused by using the tools on our website. This calculator is here to assist you in evaluating what you might obtain if you are entitled to receive benefits. We make no promises that the sum you receive will be equal to what the calculator illustrates.

Know more about the Benefits Calculator

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:

  • Check
  • 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

Benefits Extension

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:

  • Internship
  • On-the-job training
  • Apprenticeship

Know more job training opportunities in NC

Locations and Phone Numbers

You can pay a visit to your closest DES office to get more information on unemployment insurance and any services related to it. The local DES offices will provide updated information on all of your queries. Locate the closest local DES office to your location
Alternatively, you may also contact the DES over the telephone to find answers to all of your queries. The following table contains the requisite numbers you will need during the course of your benefit period in North Carolina:

NC Unemployment Office Phone Numbers

File Claim via Telephone 888-372-3453/1-877-841-9617
Customer Call Center area 888-737-0259
DES Recovery Specialist 919-707-1338
Public Appeals 919-707-1060
Government & Public Relations 919-707-1010

Note - Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Frequently Asked Question

Q. Do I need to repay if my claim is reversed on appeal?
When a claimant receiving benefits has his/her claim reversed on appeal, the benefits received will be an overpayment subject to repayment to the Division. The Law requires all persons who have received benefits to which they are not entitled “for any reason” to be liable to repay the benefits received, including when decisions at any Division or judicial level have been reversed on appeal.
Q. What happens if I forget to file my weekly certification for benefits?
If you fail to complete a timely weekly certification, you will not be allowed to receive payment for the week, you will not be required to reopen your claim, and finally, you will not be required to serve a waiting period week (non-payable week).
Q. I received separation pay (or pay, wages in lieu of notice, vacation pay, etc). When should I file a claim?
Generally, you should file your claim the first week after the period covered by the payment (if the last week of the payment is not a full week’s pay, you may file that same week, although you possibly will still be ineligible due to excessive earnings).
You are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits for any full week covered by separation pay, vacation pay, etc. (nor may such a week count as your “waiting period week”).
Q.What should I do if my unemployment payment is late?
View Your Benefit Payment History online or call the DES JOBS Line. Use the DES Office Locator to find the JOBS Line phone number for your location. You should wait for 48 hours if you file your continued claims by telephone or 5 days if your employer files your claim(s) for you or you file by mail before checking the status of your claim.
Q.What are my work search requirements in North Carolina?
The state of North Carolina mandates that you must be able to work, be available for work, and actively pursue job opportunities.

To receive benefits:

  • Under state law, you need to make contact with at least three different employers every week and record your work search. You can satisfy one of the three job contacts requirement by attending an approved reemployment activity offered by a NCWorks Career Center or a partnering agency.
  • You need to register with a jobseeker account on You can use to search and apply for jobs, access labor market information and find opportunities for workforce training.
Q. Am I required to register for work in the state of North Carolina?
Yes, you need to register for work to be eligible for your weekly unemployment benefits in North Carolina.
You can register by -
  • Visiting and create an account. Click on the link that says 'Not Registered?' and then select 'Individual' under Option 3 - ‘Create a User Account.’ The website will then guide you through the steps to complete your account setup.
  • Maintain an active account. If you have not logged in for more than 90 days into, you must log in and verify your information to reactivate your registration.
Q.When should I file a claim for UI benefits?
You should file a claim for benefits if you lost your job due to no fault of your own, you are willing to register for work and actively seek employment, and you are able and available to work if any work is offered to you.
NOTE: If you are still employed but are temporarily laid off due to a decrease in workload, your employer may file an attached claim on your behalf. Attached claims do not require that you register for work or actively seek work. If your employer refuses to file an attached claim on your behalf, you must file your own claim and meet all eligibility requirements.
Q. What day of the week does North Carolina’s UI benefits get deposited?
You need to start filing for weekly certifications the week after submitting your first application. After which, you must file a weekly certification within 14 days every week of unemployment to continue being eligible for unemployment benefits. It is also suggested that you file for certifications even if you are waiting to see if you’re eligible.
You need to wait for up to 48 hours for payments to fully process.

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