North Carolina Unemployment Guide

If you've recently lost your job in North Carolina, you may be eligible for North Carolina Unemployment Insurance benefits. This is a guide to filing your claim for North Carolina unemployment benefits. Since each situation may have its own unique circumstances, make sure you check with the contact numbers and websites listed below to make sure you get the maximum benefits you can claim.

Filing for Unemployment:

Unemployed North Carolina workers can file an initial claim for unemployment benefits one of three ways:

  1. Online – File your initial unemployment claim online (M - F, 6:00am to 9:30pm; Saturday, 6:00am to 12:00am; Sunday, 12:00 Noon to 11:30pm)
  2. Telephone – File your unemployment claim by telephone at 877-841-9617
  3. In person - Apply in person at your local Employment Security Commission office - ESC Office Locator

File your claim right away after you've stopped working – don't delay. Your claim starts the week you file. Unemployment benefits are not retroactive, so if you delay you may lose benefits.

  • Name, address & phone
  • SSN & date of birth
  • Name, address, phone number, gross earnings, occupation, dates worked, and reason for separation for all employers for the past 18 months
  • If you were discharged from the military in the last 18 months, you'll need Copy #4 of your DD Form 214
  • If you were a Federal employee in the last 18 months, you'll need SF 8 or SF 50 (or W2 or pay stubs)
  • If you are not a US Citizen, you'll need your Alien Registration Number, expiration, and type
  • Blank Check if you want direct deposit

After filing your initial unemployment claim, you will receive a Wage Transcript And Monetary Determination notice, describing benefits, eligibility and giving additional information.

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Filing Your Weekly Claim:

North Carolina weekly unemployment benefits are based on your the average weekly earnings, minimum $15 per week up to a maximum of $505 per week. Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) currently adds an additional $25 per week to your benefit.

Unemployed North Carolina workers can file weekly unemployment claims one of two ways:

  1. Online – File your weekly unemployment claim
  2. Telephone – File your weekly unemployment claim on 888-372-3453

Monday: odd last digit of SSN
Tuesday: even last digit of SSN
Wednesday - Saturday: both even and odd SSN

Beware of the Waiting Week. Your first week of benefits is called a "waiting week" – this means you will not be paid benefits during your first week of eligibility, but you must still file a claim to get credit for waiting.

You should expect to receive your Direct Payment Card within three weeks of your initial claim. Going forward, benefits will be paid to your card within 3 business days after filing your weekly claim.

You should expect approximately 10 days to set up direct deposit after submitting your direct deposit form. Benefits are paid within 3 business days after the North Carolina Employment Security Commission issues payment.

Unemployment Benefits:

Health care benefits may also be available through the Health Coverage Tax Credit - Check COBRA and The IRS for details.

North Carolina workers may be eligible for career assistance. You may also find training assistance online.

Filing for extensions:

If an extended benefit period is declared, based on unemployment rates, and it appears that you qualify, you will be notified with instructions to extend your unemployment benefits.

Ending Unemployment:

You must notify the North Carolina Employment Security Commission if you return to work.

When you return to work, file for credit for the remaining few days you didn't work, and report wages earned for the week. Then, just stop filing - when you stop weekly filing, your unemployment benefits automatically end. You may also let a claims representative know your first day of work.


Make sure to keep a copy of your work search record. You may be required to supply copies to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

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