Unemployment Extension in North Carolina


Filing a federal unemployment extension if a job search has proven to be more difficult than imagined is vital to any program recipient. Most who find themselves in this position inevitably ask, “What can I do to extend unemployment benefits in North Carolina?” At their core, unemployment benefits were never meant to be anything but temporary, but certain beneficiaries may still qualify for benefits extensions beyond their first-tier allotments. To learn more about how to get an unemployment extension and who qualifies for unemployment extensions in NC, select from the topics below:

  • Unemployment Extension Eligibility in North Carolina
  • Unemployment Compensation Extension Plans in North Carolina
  • Who does not qualify for unemployment extensions in North Carolina?

Unemployment Extension Eligibility in North Carolina

“How can I extend unemployment in North Carolina?” is a common question of current program recipients. With recent changes to the program, NC unemployment extensions are very difficult to receive. Most states have allowed their “emergency” unemployment compensation extension programs to expire. However, the DES in NC does sometimes increase the number of weeks unemployment benefits may be extended based certain criteria. Currently, the unemployment compensation extension eligibility is contingent upon the county in which the worker is located and whether the worker has been following program protocols and requirements as dictated by both the state and federal guidelines. This means that the worker must be registered with the DES, or Division of Employment Security, as well as the closest Workforce Center in North Carolina.

NC unemployment extensions also require petitioners to keep written logs of their job searches in order to prove that there is a current, ongoing search for employment. In the state of North Carolina, there are four tiers under which a program participant falls for unemployment benefits. If a beneficiary in the program uses up his or her regular allotment of benefits, he or she can automatically submit for an extension, depending on the category tier with which he or she is associated. North Carolina’s benefits allotment has been increasingly less each year, so unemployment compensation extensions have been issued to fewer program participants, even if they are qualified.  

Unemployment Compensation Extension Plans in North Carolina

If a worker has been on unemployment and the regular benefits have run out, he or she may file for unemployment compensation extensions, which will fall into one of four tiers offered. Each tier offers an unemployment extension with increasing amounts of weeks in which the program participant can continue to receive benefits. North Carolina is one of several states that allows for an adjustment of how much is offered in both regular benefits and unemployment extension benefits based on the economy, where a person lives in the state and what the current state of unemployment is for the worker’s area. 

Unemployment compensation extension plans In North Carolina have the longest tier set at Tier One, which offers a maximum of 20 weeks of benefits, with Tier Four being only a six-week extension. Tiers Two and Three offer 14- and 13-week extension periods, respectively.

If approved for an unemployment extension, the benefit amount will not be the same as it was, either. Tier One will still offer at least 80 percent of the benefits. Tiers Two and Three will only dispense a little more than half, at 50 to 54 percent of the original benefit amount. Tier Four unemployment extensions only offer 24 percent of the original benefit amounts. Some NC workers who apply for one tier, and are approved, may work their ways through the tier system until there are no more benefits left to offer. Unemployment benefit extensions can end at any time, so it is crucial the worker does not become too dependent on the monthly money received to make ends meet.

Who does not qualify for unemployment extensions in North Carolina?

Unfortunately, unemployment benefit extension programs throughout the U.S. are undergoing major reform. While the overall program is federally funded, it partners with the state, which develops its own guidelines, including unemployment eligibility and disqualification provisions. With the changes that were made in 2013, the NC legislature decided to cut any further unemployment benefit extensions, and thousands ended up requesting government assistance by applying for other types of state welfare.

The number of non-qualifying workers who were previously on the unemployment benefit extension programs was significant, and North Carolina has historically been the lowest in benefits for the unemployed for the last three years. This means that unemployment benefit extensions are offered only to those who truly qualify, and only if there is money to make the offer. Therefore, NC program administrators are particularly vigilant when it comes to policing those who file for extensions for unemployment.

If it is discovered that someone has applied for an unemployment benefit extension, but is currently in trouble with the law, has been convicted of substance abuse, has been charged with the sale of illegal drugs, has not followed the requirements for finding a job or has falsified information on his or her original unemployment application form, then the request will be denied. To date, the NC legislature is still considering reinstating more weeks for the unemployment benefit extension program, but as of now, most funding is not available for use. Those who would otherwise qualify are urged to continue to check with the NC Division of Employment Security in case extensions are reenacted.

What Is Unemployment Insurance in North Carolina?

Eligible unemployed residents in North Carolina can receive financial assistance benefits from the government. These unemployment benefits last for months and can provide a much-needed boost while members of the program pursue work. In any case, in order to enroll in this program, applicants must learn about the acceptable application procedures and the program’s eligibility criteria. Find out everything you need to know about NC unemployment insurance here.

Who Is Eligible for North Carolina Unemployment Benefits?

In order to receive unemployment insurance (UI) or compensation in the state of North Carolina, you need to meet a few qualifications. First of all, you must have lost your job due to no fault of your own. Additionally, you will need to maintain proof of your job search while receiving UI benefits. Learn more about unemployment eligibility by downloading our guide.