Denial of Benefits in North Carolina


Receiving a denied unemployment benefits letter in the mail can be disheartening. When faced with an unemployment denial letter, most applicants ask, “What can I do if unemployment denied my application?” When denied unemployment benefits in North Carolina, a worker has several options that he or she may pursue. The first step is to review the denial letter to find out why the benefits were denied. By law, the reasons for denial have to be listed. If the unemployment compensation benefits denied are based on criteria or facts that are incorrect or invalid, then the worker has the right to an unemployment denial appeal to try and have the decision reversed. NC workers who were denied employment benefits and would like to know how to file unemployment denial appeals can review the below topics:

  • Reasons for Denied Unemployment Benefits in North Carolina
  • What is an unemployment denial in North Carolina?
  • The North Carolina Unemployment Denial Appeal Process

Reasons for Denied Unemployment Benefits in North Carolina

NC residents who are denied unemployment benefits may have had them denied for many reasons. One of the more often cited reasons for unemployment benefits denied includes information that did not match current records. This can mean anything from a misspelled version of the worker’s name to a mailing address not matching up on the unemployment application. Due to the strict nature of the unemployment compensation program, the reasons for denied unemployment benefits can be lengthy. Many out-of-work NC residents have unemployment benefits denied because they were fired due to misconduct (which does not abide by the eligibility requirements of the state) or because they were already receiving benefits and were cut off. In addition, denied unemployment may be a result of turning down a suitable job offer. Download our free guide to review more reasons for unemployment denial in NC. However, if none of the reasons offered are justified, or if the worker believes the denial is an error, an unemployment denial appeal process can be initiated.

What is an unemployment denial in North Carolina?

When a worker has unemployment benefits denied, the first reaction is to immediately call the Department of Employment Services (DES) or the local unemployment office to complain. However, the first step should be to look at the official denial letter, often referred to as the ‘determination letter.’ First, the recipient should note whether or not he or she failed to meet earnings requirements. If so, then he or she has been denied unemployment benefits legitimately. While quitting a job does not make a worker ineligible for unemployment, the circumstances may. If a worker quit, it must have been with just cause, such as due to harassment, intimidation or hostile work conditions. When a worker receives a determination letter stating that he or she has been denied unemployment benefits or admission to the program, but the recipient does not agree with the findings, then an appeals process can begin.

The North Carolina Unemployment Denial Appeal Process

If an NC resident has been fired, but believes that it is a wrongful termination, and can prove it, then an appeal may be warranted. In North Carolina, the unemployment denial appeal process begins with filing the appeal with the DES Appeals Section. A letter must be written to the DES explaining why the benefits should be offered, and why the worker qualifies. Download our guide to review tips on how to author an unemployment appeals letter.

During this time, the worker should continue to file weekly claims as if he or she had been awarded unemployment benefits, even if the benefits have not yet been dispensed. If the unemployment denial appeal process is upheld, then the worker can receive all of the back pay that would have been forthcoming.

The unemployment denial appeal should only be undertaken if the worker is certain that he or she has a case. Those who continue to make claims and receive benefits during the appeal and hearing processes, and who then receive unfavorable rulings, will be required to pay back any funding dispended during that time. If the appeal letter is examined and found to be credible, then it will move to the hearing phase.

During hearings, petitioners will be asked to provide evidence against the unemployment benefits denied them, which can take the forms of documentation and witnesses. While legal representation is not required, the petitioner may have legal counsel representing him or her. Having legal representation, especially for wrongful termination cases, can give the worker the benefit of having someone who is familiar with the process. After the unemployment denial appeal hearing, the petitioner will have to wait for a written decision to arrive in the mail. This usually takes about a week or so. If the appeal is denied, then the applicant has 10 days to file another appeal to a higher court, called the Higher Authority Review. If denied unemployment benefits a second time, the applicant has no further option to appeal.