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COVID-19: Unemployment Resources

The North Carolina Division of Employment Security is providing the following guidance to help people understand the impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus on unemployment insurance benefits. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

Federal Unemployment Assistance: Updates on the expanded benefits through the CARES Act


Information for Individuals: Information for people filing for unemployment.

Information for Employers: Unemployment information for employers related to COVID-19.

Online Account Help: Information about creating and accessing your online account.




Filing for Unemployment Benefits


The fastest and most efficient way to file a new claim is to create an online account and file online at des.nc.gov.  


If you’re temporarily out of work or your working hours have been reduced due to COVID-19, choose ‘coronavirus’ as your reason for separation when filing your claim. Remember, you must complete a Weekly Certification each week to receive benefits for that week. Sign in to your online account to complete your Weekly Certification.


Eligibility, the exact amount of benefits and the duration period of those benefits cannot be determined until after you file your claim. After you file your claim, your last employer is given, by law, 10 days to respond to DES about your claim. No payment will be released until after this 10-day period. If there are no issues with a claim, individuals typically receive a payment within about 14 days of filing their initial claim.


Unemployment Insurance Changes


On March 17, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 118 announcing changes to unemployment insurance benefits for individuals who are out of work as a result of COVID-19. The order pertains to individuals who are separated from employment, who have had their work hours reduced, or who are prevented from working due to medical condition caused by COVID-19 or due to communicable disease control measures. 


The following changes are in effect for individuals eligible for benefits due to COVID-19:

  • Waiting Period. Normally, individuals do not receive payment for the first week of their claim for unemployment—this is the one-week waiting period. The one-week waiting period is waived for people filing as a direct result of COVID-19.

Note: After you file your claim, your last employer is given, by law, 10 days to respond to DES about your claim. No payment will be released until after this 10-day period. If there are no issues with a claim, individuals typically receive a payment within about 14 days of filing their initial claim.

  • Work Search Requirements. Executive Order 118 allows some requirements to be waived for people filing for unemployment due to COVID-19. If you are filing due to COVID-19, you may answer ‘yes’ to the following question on the Weekly Certification: ‘Did you look for work?’

Note: Requirements for performing a work search and being able and available for work are still in effect for individuals filing for unemployment due to reasons other than COVID-19.  

No charges will be assessed to an employer’s account for any benefits paid as a direct result of COVID-19.

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©2020 by Mayor Sandy Roberson. 

Photography by Garry E. Hodges and Lifeexposed by Lindsey Williams.