How To File For Unemployment Benefits In NC In 2023

Some people lose their jobs for so many reasons. However, the government of North Carolina has made life easier for those who are genuinely unemployed and making efforts to get something profitable for their lives. Here, we have compiled details of how to file for unemployment in North Carolina.

The Fundamentals of Unemployment benefits

Unemployment benefits are available as temporary payments to qualified workers who lost their jobs due to no fault. These payments sustain you while you look for a good job. You must be able to work, available for work and eagerly seeking employment.

Additionally, you must understand that you may not qualify even if you meet the eligibility. This is because certain conditions are put in place for you to receive the benefits. If you are fortunate, you will submit a weekly certification after each week to enable you to receive it for the next. The weekly certification contains a series of questions that help to verify if you have truly been seeking employment for that week.

Moreover, you must seek employment with at least three potential employers for you to receive the unemployment insurance benefit. For this reason, you must maintain a detailed and verifiable record of your job search. If you are not able to prove that you indeed searched for a job, you may be considered overpaid and asked to return the benefits.

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How do Unemployment Benefits Work in NC?

The North Carolina Division of Employment Security (DES) is in charge of the state’s unemployment insurance benefits program.

This program is sponsored through the cooperative efforts of the federal government and individual states, just like the NC. However, each of the states operates according to its laid down structure in terms of benefit amounts and the maximum period of benefits, although the federal government gives procedures on how the states should operate their programs.

The money for the funding of the unemployment benefits is obtained through the taxpayers’ efforts. If you are eligible for the benefits, it means that you are being paid from the pool of funds by the employed citizens of the state.

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What are the Criteria for the Unemployment Benefits?

For you to qualify for the benefits, you must meet the following eligibility:

  • You are out of work as a result of no fault of yours. You are not the one to decide if you fall under this category, but the DES will make a decision based on the information obtained from you and your previous employer
  • Ensure you are physically fit to work, available for the job, and actively seeking a job
  • You can register with NCWorks Online for a job. This is the state’s job service office.

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What Is The Amount Of The Unemployment Benefits In NC?

Your eligibility for the benefits is determined by your ‘base period’. The base period is the period of the first four calendar quarters of the last five quarters of your work history and wages.

The DES calculates your weekly unemployment benefit amount by considering your overall wages for the last two quarters and then, dividing it by 52. At this point, the final eligibility is determined. If the total of your wages for the last two completed quarters is up to 15 USD, you will be qualified to receive weekly benefits up to a maximum of 350 USD per week.

Other Information

The moment you start receiving your weekly benefits, it is advisable that you maintain your eligibility, among which is filing weekly claims and reporting on your job search. The availability of unemployment benefits is between 12 weeks and 20 weeks. Notwithstanding, if there is an economic crisis, states may choose to revise this condition.

How to Apply for the Unemployment Benefits In NC

To apply for unemployment benefits, go to, then create an online account with the DES to file a claim online. However, if it is inconvenient for you, you can call customer care service at 888-737-0259.

For the application process, you are required to possess:

  • Your social security number
  • Details containing the reasons you are no longer working, along with any vacation, retirement or compensation received or owed you
  • Your bank account details for direct deposit
  • Your work history over the last two years, including your employer’s name, address, phone number, date of employment, rate of pay, and reasons for your separation from the job.
  • In addition to the above, if you are a non-citizen, former federal employee, or former military member, additional documentation will be needed.

When Will I Start Receiving Payment?

Your first payment will not be made immediately since one week waiting period is required before the commencement of the payments.

How does the Payment Work?

The DES pays the weekly unemployment insurance into your account on a DES debit card issued by the Bank of America. The card can be used wherever Visa debit cards are accepted. If on the other hand, you have not received your benefits within 14 days, you can email your complaints to [email protected] 

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How Long Do the Benefits Last?

The state of North Carolina determines the number of weeks your unemployment benefits will last. Under normal conditions, the state has the right to terminate your unemployment benefits if you fail to meet the requirements for continuity. As a result, you must keep an account of your job search by filing a new claim through your online account every week. 
In the same vein, if you fail to file the weekly certification of benefits as early as possible, you might not receive your weekly payment. Therefore, your only option will be to reopen your claim and delay payment with a new waiting period.

What Will Happen in a Situation where Your Claim is not Accepted?

If your claim is rejected or you become ineligible, according to the DES, you will be notified through a written document, detailing the address and instructions for appealing. However, you can accelerate this process by going to the DES online portal and filing an appeal. When the DES receives your appeal, a notice will be sent to you, indicating the date, time, and contact information for your arranged hearing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do to qualify for the benefits?

To qualify for the benefits, you must meet the eligibility criteria. Anything aside from that will not get you qualified.

How much are the maximum benefits?

The maximum amount you can receive is $350 per week.

For how long will I receive the benefits?

You will receive the benefits for a period of 12 to 20 weeks.

Can I apply for unemployment benefits if I am living outside North Carolina?

You can only apply in your state of residence. Contact the board in charge of your state and find out if you meet the eligibility for application.

Can I re-apply for benefits if the first application didn’t go through?

If you are turned down for benefits, you can appeal the decision within 30 days of the date of the decision for denial. You can do this in person, online using the DES benefits system, by fax, or by email. In addition, you must keep filing for your weekly benefits because you can only receive payments for the weeks you applied.


North Carolina unemployment benefits are one of the ways the government has helped alleviate the state’s poverty rate. If you fall under the category of those eligible for the claims, it is wise you apply. Who knows, while waiting for employment, you can have some money for your basic needs.


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