What are unemployment benefits?

Unemployment benefits provide temporary payments to eligible workers who lose their job through no fault of their own. These benefits are paid for with unemployment insurance taxes paid by employers. Workers pay no part of the cost.

Unemployment benefits can help you with expenses while you look for employment. You must be able and available to work, and actively seeking work, to receive benefits.

In North Carolina, you may receive up to $350 a week in unemployment benefits for up to 12 weeks.

Who is eligible for unemployment?

Anyone can apply for unemployment benefits, but you must meet all of these requirements to be eligible for payments.

You must:

  • Be unemployed due to no fault of your own.
  • Have earned enough wages in a job for which your employer paid unemployment insurance tax.
  • Be physically able and available for work.
    Be actively seeking work.

After you apply for unemployment benefits, DES will let you know how much you are eligible for  based on the reason you lost employment and your previous earnings. You must also complete these Weekly Requirements to receive payment. In order to receive unemployment insurance payments, you must also be registered for work with your state Employment Service Agency. North Carolina residents must register for work with the NCWorks Career Center at NCWorks.gov. Out of state residents must register for work with the state in which they currently live.

If you meet all of the requirements above, you can apply for unemployment benefits. The fastest way to apply for unemployment benefits in North Carolina is to create an online account and file a claim at des.nc.gov. If you don't have access to a computer or need help with your claim, you may file over the phone by contacting the Customer Call Center at 888-737-0259.

What is Trade Adjustment Assistance, and do I qualify?

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is a federal reemployment program supported by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL). Under the TAA program, you may be eligible to receive workforce training and education at no cost to you. Eligibility for TAA is based on being laid off from a “Trade-affected” employer during a specific time frame.  To be “Trade-affected” means the layoff was a result of jobs moving to locations outside the United States or being impacted by imports.  Learn more about the TAA Program