Since March 16, North Carolina Division of Employment Security has reported over 200,000 new unemployment claims, of which applicants have filed their job loss due to COVID-19’s impact on their employment.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order on March 17, expanded access to unemployment benefits in an effort to minimize the economic impact of the coronavirus.
North Carolina currently has $3.8 billion in its unemployment trust fund right now, enough to get through three months even with increased benefits being sought, Cooper said during the March 17 briefing.
Several key barriers to unemployment benefits have been waived, including the one week waiting period to apply for benefits and the requirement that applicants demonstrate they are looking for another job.
The executive order also allows North Carolinians to apply for benefits remotely — by phone or online — rather than through an in-person interview, he said.
While employers are typically required to pay for their former employees’ unemployment benefits, that will not be required in cases related to COVID-19, as per the executive order.
How to apply for unemployment
Due to a surge in applications, the fastest way to file a new claim is online at des.nc.gov.
If filing a claim online, be certain to indicate COVID-19 as the separation reason.
For North Carolina residents without access to a computer, you can file over the phone by calling 888-737-0259.
Who is eligible?
The North Carolina Commerce website emphasizes that it’s impossible to determine eligibility until an application has been processed. People in the following circumstances — including part-time employees — might be able to receive benefits:
- Laid off work
- Working reduced hours
- Employer went out of business
- Employer shut down operations temporarily due to sick employee (no sick leave or paid time off received)
- Directed by a medical professional or public health official to quarantine, but aren’t experiencing symptoms (if employer does not offer paid time off)
What are the benefits?
Benefits remain at a maximum of $350.00/week for 12 weeks according to the website. According to the department, the exact amount of benefits and the duration period of those benefits cannot be determined until after you file your claim.
Other questions can be answered here: