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Updated : April 22nd, 2021

North Carolina Unemployment Benefits

North Carolina offers Unemployment Insurance (UI) to the citizens of the state for those who have lost their jobs for no cause. Citizens of North Carolina may apply for unemployment benefits if they were ‘laid off’ from work. The page consists of information that you will need to successfully apply for benefits, such as the information on eligibility criteria, methods to apply and other important information that is required to file for benefits.

Eligibility To Apply For UI Benefits In North Carolina

The State of North Carolina has set certain parameters to decide what are the criteria and who can be eligible to receive 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.

A calendar quarter is a set of three-month time periods used to categorize a base year, as a base year consists of four quarters.

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 then determined by calculating your wages in the last four completed calendar quarters, immediately before the first day of your benefit period. 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 probable 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 the monetary eligibility, the next step to qualify for benefits is to establish the reason for separation from your previous organization.

It must be noted that the North Carolina Unemployment Insurance program is not right for anyone who is unemployed. The State law mandates that the benefits should only be given to those who lost their jobs due to no fault of theirs.

Consider the following points to be aware of the points pertaining to job separation that has a bearing on your eligibility factor:

  • You must not have lost your job due to any fault of yours
  • You must not have quit the job at 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 your work or your working hours were shortened due to lack of work

The Department of Commerce Division of Employment Security of North Carolina (ESCNC) will verify your claims about job separation. The department may contact your ex-employers to corroborate your claim with your ex-employer. If found that your claim does not match with that of your previous employer’s claim, 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 the weeks you would receive benefits.

To make sure that you receive your weekly benefits every week without any hurdles, consider the following points:

  • You must be able and available to work at all times in the weeks you receive monetary benefits
  • You must possess 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
  • Follow 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:

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 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 888-372-3453 to register your claims over a telephone call.

How To File Weekly Claims

You can file your weekly claims through the website or through a phone call, as per your convenience. Both the sources are available for 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.

If you have not received your payment within 14 days after your weekly certification is filed, get in touch with the Division of Employment Security (DES) by email at Also, 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

The UI Benefits Calculator attached below will help you to determine the approximate UI Benefits amount that you may receive in North Carolina.

Unemployment Benefits Calculator
North Carolina
Select Number of Dependents:
0 12 3 4 5
Unemployment Benefits Calculator
State: North Carolina
Number of Dependents: 0

How much did you earn in each of these quarters?

$ 0
$ 25,000
$ 0
$ 25,000
$ 0
$ 25,000
$ 0
$ 25,000
Calculating your Benefits Amount ...
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 Office

You are expected to follow certain guidelines after filing for unemployment benefits in North Carolina. Not following these guidelines may create problems to claimants, and may result in stoppage of monetary benefits as well.

Overpayments and Collections

An overpayment occurs when you receive benefits to which you are not entitled to, either inadvertently or through wilful misdirection. Examples for overpayment include undisclosed earnings, fake documents submission, not reporting your new job or your new source of income, etc.

The state of North Carolina distinguishes overpayments 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.

Overpayments you receive must be repaid to DES, failing which the department may conduct a tax-offset with your tax returns to recover the amount owed. In order to avoid tax-offset, you may contact a DES recovery specialist by dialing 919-707-1338.

You can also pay the overpayment dues online by logging into Customer Self Service on the DES homepage. It would DES a minimum of 2 days to process your request. Also, note that if you continue to receive UI benefits while you have an overpayment balance, your weekly UI benefits will be reduced.

Benefits Extension

The state offers a benefit extension when the unemployment rate is too high or there is a economic-downturn. Contact DES to know more about the benefit 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 to the changing dynamics of the job market.

NCWorks offers the following services to job-seekers free of charge:

  • Career assessment and guidance to those who are seeking to find job opportunities
  • Assessment of the aspirants to guide them to relevant training and education programs
  • Gives information to job aspirants on job fairs and workshops
  • Provides information on the job market
  • Helps aspirants prepare a resume and a cover letter
  • Provides ample job interview practice
  • Registered job aspirants can use computers with internet access in the NCWorks center for free of cost

You can avail 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 helps you find the following 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 to all of your queries. Locate the closest local DES office to your location
Alternatively, you may also contact the DES over a 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

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?
To complete a weekly certification, you must file within fourteen (14) days from the week ending date of the week you are attempting to claim. 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?
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”). 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).
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 allow 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. Who can file an appeal?
Any claimant or employer who receives a determination that the concerned person considers to be unfavorable could appeal and place a request a hearing. Only an interested party can file a valid appeal.
Q. What are my work search requirements?
The state of North Carolina mandates that you must be able to work, be available for work and actively pursue job opportunities. The applicant must be registered for work with your resident State Employment agency. To remain eligible, the applicant must make valid job contacts with potential employers for EACH WEEK claimed.
The applicants must make sure to must make a total of three (3) contacts with potential employers for each week claimed, and maintain a written record of the work search and submit those records when you respond to your Eligibility Review Notice.
Q. Am I required to register for work in the state of North Carolina?
To meet the work registration requirement for unemployment insurance benefits, you must fulfill the following requirements:
  • You must make sure to register for work at by creating an account online. 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 seeking 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.

Questions & Answers

  1. I went to prison in 2011 and I was in the appeal process of my benefits i filed every week I would like to know if I could get those benefits now that Iam out and I am working at a day labor place is there any action that Ican take for back unemployment claims?I never receiveund another hearing because I got locked up.

  2. I work seasonal at a landscape company….my job goes from April to aug/sept. will I be able to draw when I am laid off in aug? My employer pays in to unemployment.

  3. I filed a new claim on Monday but it still shows an old claim from two years ago. I received a conformation email on Monday. How long does it take to show on website?

    1. I work for the government & we will be furlouhging from July 12 – September 20, that is working 4 days a week, Can I apply for unemployment?

  4. I was working with a temp agency at a hospital for 9 months, the assignment end and they did not hire me. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

      1. U may be wrong about that. I spoke with an appeal adjudicator and she informed me that i may still do my appeal as long as i have a reason as to why it wasnt mailed back in time. I may still receive my benefits

  5. I was just layed off from NASCAR out of Concord, NC. Do I file for unemployment benefits with NC?

      1. Hi Richard,

        You can go ahead file for unemployment in NC. But, you may have to continue to search for work where you stay.

  6. I immigrated to the U.S. in October, 2012 but haven’t found a job yet. Am I, as a green card holder, eligible for unemployment benefits?

    1. Hi Sam,

      Unemployment benefits are available to workers who were laid off. These benefits are funded by the state government using the taxes collected from the employers. Since you have not earned in USA, you aren’t eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

  7. I am being furloughed 4 days a month and losing 20% of my pay due to the sequestration. the furlough will be effective 7/8/13 and is not expected to go into the next fiscal year. Am I able to receive partial employment to help bridge the gap? I am going to lose approximately $600.00 a month. Thank you for your time

    1. Hi Debbie,

      If you are working for less than 32 hours a week (in a general case), you are mostly eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Seek partial unemployment benefits if the reduction represents at least 50 percent of a normal 40-hour work week. Mostly, if the pay is significantly cut, then there are chances that you receive unemployment.

  8. About a month ago I filed for unenployment benefits using your automated system. Since then I have been engaged in job search activities, but have landed nothing yet.

    However, I have not yet recieved any benefits.

    What do I need to do to get my benefits?


    1. Hi Andrew,

      You seem to have filed your initial claim. Have you received a determination letter form the unemployment office? This will let you know if you have qualified to receive unemployment benefits from the state. It is necessary to search for job and good you have been doing your part. But, have you filed your weekly / biweekly claims? This is the second part of your unemployment claiming procedure where you are required to report to the unemployment office to let them know you have been unemployed and you are continuing to meet the requirements to receive unemployment benefits.
      If you have filed your weekly claims, you might want to check with a claims specialist to know what is delaying your pay.

  9. I have recently been injured and unable to work due to doctors orders. its only a four month recovery so I cannot collect disability or workmans comp since it didn’t happen on the job. am I eligible for unemployment?

    1. Hi Frankie,

      If you are unable or unavailable to work, you will not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Short term disability benefits might be able to help.

    1. Hi Alvin,

      If a person earned $3000.00 every month for a year, the weekly benefit amount will be approximately $346.00. If the person is working part time or is receiving severance pay, holiday pay etc, then that amount will be deducted from the weekly benefit amount.

  10. Our son quit a job as a server to move to another job market. He was approved for unemployment benefits. He drew benefits for 3 weeks and was then notified that his benefits were being terminated. Now he is being told that he has to pay back the monies he was paid. How can that be correct when the state approved him to draw benefits?

    1. Hi Ruth,

      The state government can withdraw benefits if they find the recipient not suitable. Some document produced might have been wrong or may be some calculation they carried out went wrong for them to withdraw his benefits. You should be able to collect the reasons from them for the same.

  11. I was wrongfully terminated at my job of 2 years. My job is trying to fight me getting unemployment. So I have an active issue on my claim. I’m in the process of finding another job. I’ve still been filing my weekly claim certification even though I have not yet been accepted. My questions are
    1. If I do get accepted will I receive UI for the 2 weeks I filed weekly certification but had not yet been approved?
    2. If I find a job before I’m accepted and then report that I found a job, will they drop my claim or can they still accept me and give me UI for the 2 weeks I didn’t have a job?

    1. Hi Joy,

      1. If you are approved, you will have to serve a waiting week during which you have to file your weekly claims but you will not receive any payment. This means, out of the 2 weeks you have filed, you have chances of receiving benefits for only one week.

      2. Weekly claims enable you to receive benefits for an unemployed week which passed by. So, once it is approved, you will receive benefits at the end of each unemployed week. If you find a job, your claim will be closed.

  12. I am a full time server and the restaurant is closing. Do I qualify for unemployment benefits while I actively search for another job?

    1. Hi Heather,

      Please check if the restaurant you worked at paid employment taxes to the state government. This is called covered employment. However, this is only one eligibility requirement and there are many more which will determine your qualification to receive benefits. Since you are getting laid off, you are mostly eligible to receive benefits but you must have earned a minimum amount in your base period. Please check for eligibility requirements and other requirements on our site.

  13. I have a son in the hospital fighting for his life and since he has been in the hospital I have not given proof however I was told that upon my return I have 5 days to produce proof I have not gone back to work and I was denied FMLA and now I am being fired for not providing proof as of yet would I be eligible for UI

  14. if i worked in Michigan & now residing in North Carolina, as a forced voluntary quit, my question do i apply under the state of Michigan or state of North Carolina?

  15. I have been working at my current job for 6 years 6 months. I may need foot surgery soon. If I go out on medical leave can I collect unemployment. If not what advice can you give me to do.
    Thank you
    Elizabeth Price

  16. I was “terminated” after 2 yrs with a company due to “breaking the rules”. I gave information to a customer (believing I was helping them) which a company my company did insurance work for considered a conflict of interest. An employee handbook excerpt was cited as a “rule” to follow. I never for one minute thought I was breaking a rule nor had I ever seen an employee handbook. The employee handbook is totally irrelevant anyway. I would give the same info again to help someone. I would never do anything intentional to jeopardize my employment nor harm the company I worked for. That being said, I KNOW there is more to my termination than that but that seems to be the companies crux for getting rid of me after 2 years. Like I said——-I did nothing I thought was wrongful at all. I really helped a customer without realizing I was going to get fired over it. Will this deny me unemployment compensation?

  17. I was fired for being out sick to much. I offered doctors notes but they would not accept doctors notes saying it did not matter. Also the manager said she would give me a great referance to new employers. Is the determination up to the state or also the employer. I have sever depression and am under doctors care that is why I was out so much.

  18. If I collect unemployment in one state which I live now, but move to another state midway through the year. Am I able to claim unemployment in the new state of residence?

  19. I am a contractor in Afghanistan I am not laid off yet. My contract ends in March can I collect unemployment and I live in a different country till the next job.

  20. My full time hours have been cut from 40 work week to less than 20 hours per work week.Am I entitled to partial unemployment?

  21. I have worked for a company for 25 yrs. Work has become slow over the last 3-5 yrs and I have periodocally been signed up for unemployment benefits through my employer. I used to be able to draw if I only worked 18 hrs or less. Boss told me he talked with ESC and was told he could take an average of hours worked and reduce the required hours for drawing unemployment……….what i mean is, I used to able to work 18 or less and draw unemployment, but now he says that has dropped to 12 … this legal???

  22. I’m having to leave my job due to my husband’s job relocation to another state. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits while I look for a job?

  23. i am 7 months pregnant with twins and my doctor has told me i have to stop working do to complications. Can i receive unemployment benefits???

  24. I am currently employed at a company in North Carolina and am the olny women in an office and ove ther past 4 weeks the work enviroment has become hostile. I am afraid to go to work tommorow as the office is on edge and the comments are violant comeents are getting worse. The HR deparment and management know of the issue. And dont seem to be handling the issue. Can I leave the company file for unemployeement as I feel threatened everyday for my saftey.

  25. I am confused because at the top of this page it says that you are eligible if you are under 21 and are a full-time student, but then below it says that you disqualify if you’re attending school. Can someone please explain this to me? I have been unemployed since June, and have applied everywhere and been unable to get a job. I am 19 years old and I start school in January as a college student and I need a job, or money somehow. Do I not qualify?

  26. Our company is shutting down for a week and i would like to file for unemployment benifits for that week. Does doing so effect any future benifit options or your standing with the company. Any info or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  27. i had to quit my full time retaail sales job due to health reasons. I have not worked since Memorial Day and am having difficulty finding a job. I have never collected unemployment and want to know if I qualify for benefits

  28. My husband has been transferred to another part of NC. I have leave my job of 11 months effective immediately. My company says they will not have any problems with my filing. Will I be eligible? What will I need?

  29. My tier three ended on May 20th 2012. I was told I would only get six weeks of tier four. According to euc extension it states that north carolina without having the eb extension should have 16 weeks of tier four with tier three ending before june. Why would I not be eligible for sixteens weeks of tier four in north carolina?

  30. I have just recently lost my job, aspart of a re-organization(no fault of mine). They gave me a sevence package of 8 weeks. Can I file for unemployment at the same time if I do not get employment? If I can, may i do it online or do I need to come to the office? When can I start filing?

    1. Yes, you are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits as you have lost job through no fault of yours.

      You can file online which takes about 20 minutes. When filing for benefits online, you will also have to register for work, so that potential employers can find your resume in a search of the Employment Security Commission’s database.

      If you are applying online then it is not required to visit Employment Security Commission Office.

  31. My son recently was laid off from his full time job of 6 months due to lack of work. He applied for NC unemployment and they informed him that his rate for the base period was not enough to file a claim. It looks as if the base period was the fourth quarter of 2011 and first quarter of 2012. Since his employment began in November 2011 and lasted through July 2, 2012 when should he file to be eligible? His net salary per week was $280.00 per week.

    1. My husband had the same problem, have your son take his last pays tub to the unemployment office and file an appeal to have that quarter added. It may have helped us as this was just done today, we are keeping our fingers crossed :-)

  32. I was laid off from my job as an associate pastor in Wilmington. Do I qualify for unemployment? My church did not pay towards social security? Any help would be great.

  33. Yes you can claim the UI benefit from the State where you stay directly claiming from the state where you were working through online with your social security number and login details…

  34. I have just lost my job in Louisiana and am relocating to charlotte NC can I file for unemployment there and how do I go about getting the process started?

  35. What happens when a person comes back from surgery, has exhausted all PTO time and FMLA and goes back to work just to find they are unable to do their job because they are still having medical problems? Does that person qualify for unemployment compensation when the employer terminates them?

  36. I will be moving to North Caroline in mid-June. How do I transfer my TN unemployment benefits to NC? Will I need to contact TN first to advise them of my move or once I get to NC, do I file for unemployment benefits with them and NC notifies TN of the move? Also, I have direct deposit – will that also transfer?

  37. My current management position is being eliminated and I have to reapply for a new management postion against the general population. If I’m not offered a new management position can I apply for unemployment benefits? (even if I am offered a part time position?) My pay would probably be significantly reduced given that scenario. Also, what must be considered is that I currently have a part time job elsewhere (about 20 hours weekly along with my full time management job. So, would I be eligible for unemployment if I refuse a part time position at the place that is currently my full time job?

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