North Carolina Unemployment Extension
Extended Benefits (EB)
Unemployment benefits in North Carolina can be extended when the unemployment rate gets too high. Extended Benefits (EB) are additional funds provided to individuals who have already used all of their regular unemployment insurance benefits during times of high unemployment.
The fundamental Extended Benefits program offers up to 13 extra weeks of benefits to North Carolina workers. Extended Benefits can only start after an individual has exhausted all other unemployment insurance benefits. The amount of money you get each week from Extended Benefits is the same amount you received for regular unemployment compensation.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) can become available when there is an officially declared major disaster in North Carolina. If you’ve lost your job or self-employment because of a disaster, you may be eligible for DUA. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
To qualify for DUA, you need to meet one of the following conditions of unemployment, and it must be a direct result of the disaster:
- You’ve had a week of unemployment after the disaster started
- You can’t get to your workplace
- You were about to start a new job, but the job doesn’t exist anymore, or you can’t get to the job
- You’ve become the main earner because the head of your household died as a direct result of the disaster
- You can’t work because of an injury that the disaster directly caused.
DUA is only available for those who are not eligible for NC unemployment benefits.
The NC Department of Employment Security will first check if you can get regular UI benefits before they decide if you’re eligible for DUA.
The CARES Act, an abbreviation for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, was a law enacted by the federal government in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided a broad range of financial support, including expanded unemployment benefits such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), to help stabilize the economy and support jobless workers affected by the pandemic.
All Cares Act programs ended in September 2021.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provided up to an additional 53 weeks of assistance for those who had used up their regular unemployment insurance benefits.
Applying for PEUC wasn’t an automatic process when you exhausted regular state unemployment insurance benefits. Claimants had to file a separate claim for PEUC to receive these benefits. Once your regular UI benefits were exhausted, you could file a claim for PEUC and complete your weekly certification. If you were approved for PEUC, you’d continue receiving benefits for up to 53 additional weeks.
PEUC benefits ended in September 2021.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) was a program for jobless workers who couldn’t work because of COVID-19 and couldn’t get regular state unemployment benefits – for example, if you were a self-employed worker or an independent contractor.
PUA benefits lasted up to 79 weeks until September 4, 2021. Qualifying for PUA wasn’t as simple as qualifying for regular NC unemployment benefits. The NC DES had to review your claim each week to decide if you were eligible.
Your eligibility for PUA was entirely dependent on COVID-19 directly being the cause of unemployment. For example, you could qualify for PUA if you couldn’t work since you had COVID-19. But if weeks later you didn’t have COVID-19 anymore, your claim for PUA benefits would be denied.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
As part of the U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) was established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020.
FPUC was a supplementary benefit added to your regular NC unemployment insurance benefits. Under the program, claimants initially received an extra $600 per week. Payments were later lowered to $300 per week under the American Rescue Plan Act.
FPUC benefits expired in September 2021.
Increased Benefit Amount
During the COVID pandemic, North Carolina enacted the Increased Benefit Amount program. Eligible claimants saw their weekly unemployment benefit increased by $50. This started with the benefit week that began on September 6 and lasted until the benefit week that ended on December 26, 2020.
Eligible claimants did not have to apply for the $50, it was automatically added to the weekly benefit amount.
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)
The Lost Wages Assistance program ran for 6 weeks, starting in August 2020. It provided a supplemental payment of $300 to individuals who were receiving at least $100 a week in unemployment benefits and were unemployed due to COVID-19.
LWA was managed by FEMA. In order to qualify for LWA, you had to be receiving a minimum of $100 a week in unemployment benefits and had to be unemployed due to COVID-19.
Claimants did not have to file a separate claim or application for Lost Wages Assistance, though they did have to certify that COVID-19 was the reason for their unemployment.