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. 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?

  2. 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.?

  3. 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.

    1. Judy,

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

  4. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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?

        1. Jenny,

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

    1. 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.

  7. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. 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?

      1. Crankin,

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

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