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How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits in North Carolina

Applying for Unemployment in Charlotte, or Anywhere Else in the State of NC

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Filing for unemployment benefits can be difficult. It means that you're going through a difficult place in your life, and confusing paperwork can make things more difficult. Fortunately, there are some way to make filing for unemployment benefits in North Carolina a little easier. There are three basic steps you'll need to take to receive unemployment benefits in North Carolina:

  • Register for work with DES
  • File a claim for each calendar week of benefits you request
  • Actively seek work during any week for which unemployment benefits are claimed.

That last step can sometimes confuse people. What does "actively seeking work" means? The NC ESC defines that at "doing those things that an unemployed person who wants to work would normally do." You'll need to seek work in person on two different days with at least two different employers, and keep a written record your search for periodic review.

How long do I have to work to qualify for unemployment in North Carolina?
The North Carolina Employment Security Commission uses a term called “base period” to determine whether or not you will be eligible for unemployment benefits. Usually, you have to work for the first four of the last five calendar quarters. That means that if you worked for at least the first 12 months out of the last 16, you're eligible.

How much will I receive for North Carolina unemployment benefits?
North Carolina computes your benefits by taking the amount of your wages in the highest quarter of the last 16 months, and dividing it by 26. For example, say that during the past year at your job, you earned $6,000 during the highest quarter. Dividing that by 26, your weekly benefit would be $230. You can receive benefits directly deposited to your account, or via a debit card.

How long can I receive North Carolina unemployment benefits?
The minimum time period is 13 weeks, and the maximum is 26 weeks. Your duration is figured by dividing your total "base period" wages by your "high quarter" wages and then multiplying the result by eight and two-thirds.

Can I receive North Carolina unemployment if I quit my job?
This is probably the most common question about unemployment benefits in NC. In short, the best answer to this question is no. The NC ESC says that applicants must be unemployed "through no fault of their own." That means that if you voluntarily left a job, you can't receive unemployment benefits.

Can I be denied unemployment benefits in North Carolina?
You certainly can, and there are a number of reasons. As mentioned above, if you quit your job voluntarily, you won't receive benefits. Also, you will most likely be denied if you were fired for violation of company policy or misconduct, you have very limited hours you can work, if you are not eligible to work in the United States, or if you were involved in a strike.

Do I have to pay taxes on North Carolina unemployment benefits?
You will have to pay both federal and state taxes. You're actually given the choice to have taxes withdrawn each week to avoid having to pay a large amount later. There is a certain amount that's not taxed, though.

Also, remember that it's a good idea to start the process as soon as you can. Like most states, North Carolina has a "waiting week" - the first week of unemployment where you'll receive no benefits. When you apply, be sure to have on hand your dates of previous employment, and the pay you earned at that job.

If you need further help, call the North Carolina Unemployment Security Commission at 1-888-737-0259, or visit their website at www.ncesc.com.

Click here to begin the application process for North Carolina unemployment benefits.

Also, if you need to contact someone in person, here's the address and phone number for the Charlotte office:

5601 Executive Center Drive
Suite 100
Charlotte , NC 28212

Office Hours:
Mon to Fri
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phone: 704-566-2870
Jobs Line: 800-768-5627
Fax: 704-566-2856

Do you have a story about your process for filing for unemployment or a tip for those looking to file? Share it below.

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