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North Carolina Unemployment Eligibility

The Unemployment Insurance program in North Carolina is part of a national system intended to provide temporary economic benefits to eligible workers.

In order to collect benefits you must meet certain requirements.

Non Monetary Eligibility

1. You must become jobless through no fault of your own.

2. All claimants, except those who are still attached to an employer’s payroll, must:

  • register for work with the Division of Employment Security;
  • file a claim for each calendar week of benefits they request, and
  • actively seek work during any week for which unemployment benefits are claimed.

Actively seeking work means doing those things that an unemployed person who wants to work would normally do. Claimants who are enrolled in Approved Commission Training may be exempted from work search requirements.

3. You must quit or get fired from your job for “good cause”

Monetary Eligibility

To be monetary eligible:

You must have worked enough hours in a defined base period to qualify. Typically, the base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters. You must have worked in two of these quarters to meet eligibility requirements. During your base period, you also need at least six times the state average weekly wage at the time of your filing.

Ineligible amount is determined by adding the claimant’s earning allowance (maximum amount a claimant may earn in a compensable week before the weekly benefit amount is reduced) to the claimant’s weekly benefit amount. If, in a given week, the earnings reported by the claimant equal or exceed the ineligible amount, then the claimant cannot receive any unemployment benefits for that week.

North Carolina is a waiting week state. Unemployment benefits can’t be accrued until you serve one full week of unemployment. The first day of your waiting week begins the day after your job separation. The ESC (Employment Security Commission) ensures that you’ve served the waiting week by contacting your last employer for verification. You can still apply for unemployment benefits as soon as you separate from your job.

Eligibility Questions

Can I receive unemployment benefits if I get fired?

Federal law prevents states from offering unemployment benefits to claimants who are unemployed through their own fault. In North Carolina, this includes claimants fired for cause by their former employers. The burden of proof falls on the former employer, though, so if the state Employment Security Commission (ESC) doesn’t get evidence you were fired for cause, you may still collect benefits. However, if your employer does provide evidence, you can collect only if you can provide more-compelling evidence that you weren’t fired for cause.

Can I draw unemployment in North Carolina if I quit my job?

Typically, if you voluntary leave your job in North Carolina, the state will not allow you to receive unemployment compensation. Eligibility is based on how long you worked during a specific base period, how much you earned and reason for job separation. If you have a valid reason for leaving your job, you may file a dispute or appeal if the state denies your unemployment claim. The Employment Security Commission (ESC) of North Carolina is the agency that manages the state’s unemployment program.

What happens to my unemployment benefits if I am laid off?

If you are laid off for reasons beyond your control, such as due to structural downsizing, or the company that you worked did not have enough work and money for you, there is a good chance that you qualify for unemployment benefits.

To receive these benefits, apply to your state agency that manages them. Generally, you should apply for benefits as soon as soon as you are laid off, as there is nothing to gain from waiting.

What are the work search requirements for EUC?

To be eligible for EUC, you must be able to work, available for work and actively seeking work. While filing for EUC, work search requirements have been met when you seek work on at least two days and make a total of two different contacts with potential employers. You must keep a written record of your work search and present the written record upon request by DES.

It says something about a “waiting week” in the claims filing information. What am I waiting on?

The “waiting period week” is the first week you file for and are otherwise eligible. You will never receive payment for this first week. It must be claimed to be counted. It does not mean you should wait a week before you file the claim.

More Questions?? —> Read Eligibility Q & A Section

Want to know about how much you will receive?? —–>Calculate your benefits here

  1. If you work for the County and paid through a Federal grant and your job ends can you file for unemployment

    • Hi, Teresa – you should definitely connect with someone in the North Carolina unemployment office to discuss the specifics of your case. In general, if your job is ending and you have no promised rehire date for a new project, you may want to apply for benefits. Ultimately, it will be up to the state of North Carolina whether your specific situation makes you eligible.

  2. C’est depuis plus de 4 ans que je suis travailleur dans une compagnie, et maintenant je suis malade me retrouva ainsi donc dans l’impossibilité de travailler, je ne suis pas licencié mais mon employeur ne me paye plus, que dois je faire dans ce cas?

  3. I have been laid off due to the coronavirus. I work at a restaurant in Virginia & their home office in in North Carolina. I also live in North Carolina so do I file unemployment with N.C. or V.A.?

  4. How long do I need to be employed to receive unemployment if I am laid off due to the coronavirus. I have been at my hotel for 5 months. I have heard you need to be at your job at least 6 months.

    • Judy,

      Please use the ‘Eligibility Calculator’ to ascertain eligibility. Your state may have activated “Emergency Funding” considering the Coronavirus outbreak.

  5. Hello,

    I worked for an electric company last year until April 4th when I was in a car accident on my way to work. Since then I have not been able to work and have been on short term disability.
    As of yesterday I was let go from my job. I have rec’d short term disability since my accident and was transitioning to long term care this month so I technically have not actively worked due to my disability. How does this effect my qualifying for unemployment?

    Thank you for your assistance with my question.

    • Lori,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who are able and available for work. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

      Hope you get well soon!

      • I recently learned I am to be terminated for something that happened in my store while I was not there. I have been with company for two years. I was told by fellow employees and not management that this was to happen. If I give two weeks notice can I collect unemployment?

        • Jenny,

          Please note UI benefits are offered to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons (performance-related issues are generally not considered).

  6. Does NC allow medical unemployment. My husband has been diagnosed with cancer and we are being told the process will take at least 1 year and 1/2. We need help desperately.

  7. After 7 years of employment, with NO disciplinary actions or complaints evern, I was “terminated” by my manager for basically using my FMLA time (the DOL is investigating), although when I called HR and asked specifically WHY I was terminated, they said they couldn’t give me that information (???) — will I qualify for unemployment…?? Should I wait for the outcome of the investigation?

    • Lisa,

      If you’re able to provide supporting documents in case of a dispute during claims processing, you might be able to claim. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  8. Hello, I worked for a company for 2 years(land surveying). Did not miss one day, never wrote up never got a review. I had one complaint form a Clint that a small bag of trash fell out of my truck on his property and I cut some tree limbs. (part of the job) I was fired the next day cursed out and told to GET THE F*** OUT AND WAS CALLED NAMES. I was told I had to wait 6 weeks for being fired (from calling NCES)
    I have not got any information in the mail yet. Its been 36 days since I filled a clam. Why was I told 6 weeks for being fired ? Should I expect to get approved or not?

    • Hello, I am not sure what to do. I just got back from a leave and my manager told me alot has changed while I was out. And there is not alot of time for training and I if I do not catch on quickly I should consider quitting or I may get fired. I am not sure if I should quit or wait to get fired? If I quit can I collect unemployment?

      • Crankin,

        UI benefits are only provided to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. I suggest you talk it out with your manager.

    • Kevin,

      It looks like you were asked to leave due to a trivial issue. Please chase the Unemployment Office at regular intervals and contest the claim in case it goes against you.

    • Britt,

      If you were commissioned for full-time employment and the hours were cut, please consider applying for partial Unemployment Insurance benefits.

  9. Can I apply for unemployment if I worked part time 20 hours a week and wrongfully let go today. Ive been with the company since January 2018.

    • Michelle,

      Part-time workers are generally not eligible. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state to confirm.

  10. I was pulled into office and was told that I was best fit another position in agency and lower pay from $17 to $15 with out consulting me first about the change. I did not accept so resign due to put tremendous change to my living condition. can I get unemployment due to not honoring employment contract

    • Pitt,

      You can be eligible to claim Unemployment Insurance benefits under such circumstances. Please consider applying.

  11. won my appeals in later part of april. When will i receive my backpay and unemployment check in NC? Cant seem to reach a live person to ask. Thanks

    • Sharon,

      Please contact the adjudicator or the team that worked with you for an update. They should voluntarily communicate with you on the dates.

  12. I was required to file a check stub for my last payday. However, I elected to receive direct deposit instead of being mailed a check. I was told that my report of direct deposit will not be accepted. How can I get the State to accept my report of direct deposit to be declared eligible to receive unemployment payments once again?

  13. If I am terminated due to being pregnant and haven’t worked for this company for twelve months….am I eligible for unemployment after my baby is born

    • Jane,

      You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  14. My husband had to quit his job in North Carolina because I relocated to the state of Washington to work for Amazon. Would he qualify for NC unemployment while he is searching for another job in Washington?

    • Mary,

      Your husband will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  15. I my position has been classified as “temporary” for the last year and a half with quarterly reviews, they have also kept me at 29 hrs/wk. I have been informed that this is the last quarter they can afford to keep me. Will I qualify for benefits even as a part time temp?

    • Christine,

      Part-time/contract employment does not qualify since employers do not remit unemployment taxes. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for clarification.

  16. Hi,
    I am contract worker and i have been with the company for over year and half. They keep renewing my contract every 3 months. My contract was suppose to end for good as they outsourced the whole department and i was looking for a full time job as i can’t work any longer without benefits or any time off whatsoever. They offered me again for renewal very last minute so i asked for pay raise and time off as i am being underpaid for my qualifications, if i say no would i still be able to collect unemployment and look for a better job?

    • Saima,

      Contract jobs are generally not eligible since employers’ generally don’t pay unemployment taxes. Please check with the Unemployment Office.

    • Raymond,

      You should be able to collect both together. Please call the Unemployment Office to understand further.

  17. Hi, I work for a government agency for over 2 years. My old supervisor retired and a coworker took her position. One whom isnt very fond of me. She gave me a work plan out of the blue. She stated I had improved and then followed it with a written warning. Now on my final written warning for not completing a processing quota, continued errors in work. Getting help from others although she claims I have improved she still gave me the final warning. If she fires me am I eligible for unemployment?

  18. During the mandatory interview i failed to bring the required worksearch for the first week of my unemployment which was the waiting week. I had misplaced it and couldn’t remember the exact places or dates I had applied. I have received a notice that I now owe one week of benefits in over payment. my first question is why do i owe money i did not receive? secondly, I did happen to run across the work search for that week can i use this to appeal this decision and how does the appeal process work?

    • Heather,

      For precise answers to all your questions and to resolve disputes, please call the Claims Center on the phone numbers provided.

  19. I was asked to resign behind a workers compensation claim in order to get my medical expenses covered. Will I be eligible for unemployment?

    • UI benefits are available only to those who’re able and available for work.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further information.

  20. Hello,
    my job changed my hours, and now I am unable to find a daycare that open late enough for my child. If I get fired for calling out due to childcare would I get unemployment

  21. The place I work at owes me between 6-8 weeks pay from back in February and it is now june. I’ve asked about this to my employers who own this small restaurant on several occasions and it was always put off until next week until finally they denied it and refuse to pay me that money owed, and now I’m about to be homeless because my savings got depleted living paycheck to paycheck and not getting paid. I live in NC. My question is, if I quit my job would I still qualify for unemployment? And would I legally be able to obtain my money I worked for in a quick fashion so I could avert this problem at hand? A reply would be greatly appreciated, and thank u all!

    • Jason,

      I can understand your situation. Generally, if a worker quits voluntarily, he/she will not be eligible. However, there are exceptions. Please contact the Unemployment Office to find out more.

  22. Recently moved to NC from SC to find employment. I wanted to know if I would be eligible for unemployment if I was “let go” from my previous job in SC due to me be incarcerated for 6 months. They have tried to deny me in SC bc I was a no call no show which isn’t true because one I was all over the news so how would I call and two I kept in touch with multiple managers to communicate to my managers (in FL where corp is) since I was a manager myself.

    • UI benefits are only extended to those who lose their job due to involuntary reasons. You may not be eligible under such circumstances.

  23. I had to move to Florida due to husbands job,so I had to quit my wonderful job in NC to move with my family can I draw unemployment till I find a job ?

    • You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  24. I have worked from home for over 5 years with my company. Since it has been so long, I ended up moving away and even out of the state. I have lived over 2.5 hours away for over a year and lived as far as 5 hours away at one time. The company is now telling me I have to stop working from home and have to come in every day. This is after a complaint a customer made. The company basically will write up anyone if a customer complains long enough, to satisfy the customer. They deem complaints as misconduct and make us sign a form stating we had misconduct. This is why they are forcing me to go into the office that I live hours away from every day. Am I eligible to quite and receive unemployment?

    • If you quit voluntarily, you will not be eligible to claim UC benefits.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to ascertain eligibility.

  25. I was working for a hospital for 2 years and went out on FMLA to dealing with PTSD symptoms. Since I can no longer afford to stay out of work, my doctor released me to work with restrictions. My manager is saying they may not be able to accommodate me because of the nature of the job role. Would I qualify for unemployment benefits is my employer is unable to accommodate my disability.

    • I am not sure if you can be eligible to draw UI benefits under such circumstances.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further instructions.

  26. I have been on my job for two years and was recently let go because I failed a random drug test. Am I able to file for unemployment

  27. I have been working for a company for over a year and a half. We were sold back in January and ever since the new company came in, we are NEVER paid on our pay date. It is always at least a week or two later than our pay date. They still owe my expenses from June til present. I could not continue to work for them because I could not count on my wages to be paid so I could take care of my bills. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

    • Though quitting voluntarily is not accepted, there are exceptions such as your case.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state to confirm eligibility before making a decision on your employment.

  28. I work in an office where another employee is verbally abusing me and now has threatened me in front of my employer. I have gone to this employer and he has even witnessed it and has done nothing about it. I am now concerned that my safety is at risk. At none of these confrontations did i say or do anything to even get near or around that other employee. They came and physically got in my face with their face and hands as if to strike me and my employer did nothing. Not even tell them to go back to their seat. But let that person do what they did. I work hard and never talk ugly or unprofessional regardless of what is being said or done to me. I do not lower myself.

    • You can be eligible for UI benefits if you quit due to hostile working conditions.

      Make sure to keep supporting documents handy to prove if your employer disputes.

  29. I am a self-employed childcare provider, & I lost my job due to circumstances beyond my control (a prank against my son by someone else). My business was my sole source of income for the past 18 years, & I’ve been without my income for 6 weeks now. Am I eligible for unemployment?

    • Self employed citizens do not qualify for UI benefits.

      Please check further with the labor authorities in your state.

  30. I worked for my company for about a year and was supposed to be provided with health insurance. I never got it. The person responsible would not return my calls and I went to her supervisor. Still nothing. I am not eligible for Obamacare because my job is supposed to provide insurance. At the time I live in California. The area I lived in was affected by the wildfires and was considered a federal disaster area. My roommate sold her home so I was without a place to live and with so many homes burned I could not find another home. I moved to North Carolina to stay with friends while I job searched. Am I eligible for unemployment while I job hunt?

  31. The company where I had worked and paid as an employee was sold to another company about four years ago. Although I was doing the same duties, I was then treated and paid as a contract driver. Would I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

    • Contracted employees are generally not eligible to receive Unemployment Compensation since the employers do not generally pay the relevant taxes into the system.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

  32. I recently moved here from New York my husband was transferred with his job. I am currently receiving unemployment through New York State unemployment but it is going to run out and I still haven’t found a job. Am I able to file for unemployment benefits in NC until I find a job?

  33. I have worked for a company for 21 years. This last year, I got written up twice because of the 2 mystery customer surveys and that led to my termination. Will I be eligible for unemployment?

  34. If a person who is an alcoholic, fired from job for sleeping on job and wasn’t written up and no warnings given and is now receiving help from an inpatient facility, would they qualify for unemployment until they are out and able to find another job?

  35. I was fired from myob after attempting to call in and no one answering I then sent a text message to my shift supervisor and received no call concerning my whereabouts so the following day I was told to report to my direct boss on Monday upon which I was told I was fired and then in Tuesday I called human resources who informed I wasn’t fired so I called for my weekend schedule Thursday and was informed I was fired for no call no show Monday night after I had been told Monday morning I was terminated should I be eligible for unemployment. In N.C.

  36. I recently resigned from my position at a company I worked for, for over 2 years due to my daughter starting school and their lack of flexibility with scheduling. Would I be eligible for UI benefits? I am currently looking for something within my field and more flexible hours.

    • You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  37. I recently became unemployed in North Carolina and have been approved to receive my benefits. As of the first week of my claim I am a full time currently enrolled college student training to receive my certificate/degree in a new field of future employment. Are there any approved programs that doe not require me to continuously search for work each week, or has any “Commissioner Approved Training” Programs been canceled or no longer applicable or available ?

    • Please check on the website of the labor department in your state or call them for further information in this regard.

  38. I have been working at my job for 3 1/2 years, I just got accepted into the Radiology program at my school. the program is going to be very demanding of time (classes and clinicals). Due to my focus on school, I plan to leave work. Would I be eligible for unemployment?

  39. I can no longer perform my job as a nurse due to a spinal fracture. Can I collect unemployment? I have worked on my current job for 1.5 years and as a nurse over 20.

    • Unfortunately, the system does not consider personal reasons like illness.

      Unemployment benefits are extended to those who are able and available to work. Please inquire about workman’s comp scheme in your state.

  40. If you have worked 3 continuous years but the last 2 months have been with a different company, does that affect you being able to collect unemployment?

  41. I worked to the State of South Carolina for sixteen years. My partner and I decided to move to the mountains in North Carolina and I quit my job in South Carolina. I have been in North Carolina for a year now and still can not find a job. Can I get any benefits in North Carolina? South Carolina will fight any unemployment I try to pursue. Thanks

  42. I will be on Short Term Disability for approx 6-8 weeks and my STD is only for 85% of my pay. I was told by coworkers that in the state of NC we are able to file for the additional 15% of our pay during STD. Is this correct?

    • We do not have information on the STD benefits. Please contact the relevant authority in your state.

  43. I was promoted to a job with my employer and filled the job for six months My employer now has informed me they have eliminated my new position and the only thing offered is a demotion . Can I refuse the demotion and still receive unemployment while I look for a new position . If I refuse the demotion the employer will offer 30 days severance I cannot seek unemployment until that serverance period runs out correct

    • UI benefits is extended to those who are unemployed involuntarily. So be cautious. Yes, one cannot seek UI until the severance runs out.

  44. I recieved 26 weeks of unemployment benifits in 2013 from nc , i currently am a full time sutdent can i recieve addition unemployment benifits in 2014 evn though i have not returned to work since recieving benifits in 2013?

    • You seem to have exhausted your benefits basket.

      I don’t think you will be eligible for an additional benefits at this time.

  45. I filed for unimployment around August. Becaus I had to leave the job I was determined to be uneligable. I left due to health, stress, overwork, conflict with other employees. I didn’t have time to apeal or whatever befor finding a job in MS . I have worked 5 mos. 3 weeks . Can I still apeal and Qualify for unimployment?

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