Unemployment Benefits Coverage and Duration in North Carolina


Learning how to claim unemployment benefits can be the difference between paying the bills and stressing about how to pay them after losing a job. Claiming benefits for unemployment all depends on if a worker even qualifies, so the first order of business is learning if an applicant is eligible for unemployment benefits claims or not. Once qualified, beneficiaries must continue to remain eligible for coverage, and may even have access to unemployment benefits extensions, if needed. For more information on how to claim unemployment benefits in North Carolina and the duration of benefits, peruse the below topics:

  • Estimating Federal Unemployment Benefits in North Carolina
  • How to Remain Eligible for Unemployment Benefits Claims in North Carolina
  • Unemployment Benefits Extensions in North Carolina

Estimating Federal Unemployment Benefits in North Carolina

The “Estimate of Unemployment Insurance Benefits” function on the Division of Employment Security (DES) website provides unemployment benefits claims in North Carolina to potential beneficiaries who are considering applying for unemployment coverage. Federal employment benefits in NC are calculated through the DES portal once an applicant enters his or her last name and a corresponding Social Security Number. Note that the unemployment benefits claim information displayed on the screen may not always be accurate, as wage information plays a sizable factor in the numbers provided, and applications must be processed in full in order to present authentic estimates.

The online federal unemployment benefits calculator presents information including a maximum benefit amount, a weekly benefit amount, an earnings of allowance sum, the beneficiary’s recorded base period and the amount of weeks in which he or she will qualify for unemployment benefits in North Carolina. The unemployment benefits calculator is a prime tool in determining potential payouts from the DES, since unemployment duration differs with each and every applicant. The reason all unemployment beneficiaries receive different payments from the state has a lot to do with their personal earnings histories and their base periods. To learn more about calculating potential unemployment coverage payments, download our guide.

Applicants should note that they are entitled to a full, 20-week period of NC unemployment benefits if they qualify for the program. However, to claim unemployment benefits for the 20-week allotment in North Carolina, recipients must meet continued eligibility requirements enforced by the state.

How to Remain Eligible for Unemployment Benefits Claims in North Carolina

In order to continue to claim unemployment benefits in North Carolina following the filing of an unemployment benefits claim, applicants must follow specific guidelines set forth by the DES. The duration of unemployment benefits in North Carolina can – and will – be cut short if an applicant does not abide by the work search criteria of the state. Specifically, to maintain federal unemployment benefits in NC, beneficiaries must correspond with five, employer-based contacts per week in order to collect their payments. If the five-contact minimum is not met, regardless of if an unemployment benefits claim is filed for the week, the beneficiary will not receive an unemployment payment. To document work search progress, unemployment benefits claim filers in NC are asked to keep logs with detailed information. On the work search log for federal unemployment benefits, recipients should document information about each of their potential employers. To learn more about which details should be included in a work search log to remain eligible for unemployment coverage in NC, download our free guide. If a federal unemployment benefits recipient does not abide by the DES work standards, the duration of unemployment coverage will be cut short.

Unemployment Benefits Extensions in North Carolina

Any worker that has been awarded federal unemployment benefits is already in the first tier of unemployment benefits in NC. Overall, there are four tiers of benefits available to a worker. The first tier is set at 20 weeks of coverage. If the first-tier benefits expire before a worker has found a suitable replacement job, he or she must apply for an unemployment benefits extension to continue with the program. The second tier of federal unemployment benefits will provide benefits for 14 weeks for up to 54 percent of the filed unemployment claim. The third tier extension will provide benefits for a maximum of 13 weeks at 50 percent of the unemployment claim, while the final extension is only for six weeks at 24 percent of the unemployment claim. Once the fourth tier runs out, the worker becomes ineligible for additional benefit extensions in NC.