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Adjudication is an investigation in which the claimant, employer, and any other interested party may be contacted to obtain information about a specific issue on an individual’s claim. When information provided by the claimant or the employer indicates that the claimant's separation from employment was due to reasons other than lack of work, the claim must be referred for adjudication. Other issues that may require an investigation with the claimant and employer include the claimant’s receipt of vacation or separation pay. If the claimant raises a question regarding ability for work or availability for work, the claimant may need to be contacted for additional information.

After obtaining the needed information, the Division of Employment Security issues a determination that either allows or denies benefits. A copy of this determination is mailed to all interested parties. Parties may also view the determination on their online account.

A determination is a written notice that is sent to the employer and claimant if the determination refers to the claimant’s separation from employment or receipt of vacation or separation pay. Only the claimant will receive a determination if it is regarding their ability for work or availably for work. An individual may be disqualified if he or she quit a job, was discharged, refused a job referral, refuses a job, is not able to work, is not available for work, received vacation or separation pay, and refuses to enter and/or complete local employment office approved training. Interested parties may appeal an unfavorable determination. Failing to meet eligibility requirements may also be disqualifying.

There are FOUR criteria that you must meet to be eligible for unemployment benefits in North Carolina:

  • You must be unemployed due to no fault of your own (the Division will make this determination based upon information provided by you and your last employer);
  • You must be considered monetarily eligible (earned sufficient wages to establish a claim);
  • You must be physically able, available and actively seeking work (you could start work tomorrow if you’re offered a job); and  
  • You must register for work with your resident state's job service office. In North Carolina that service is NCWorks Online.

You must be able and available to accept any suitable work for which you have reasonable qualifications and work experience.

Unresolved issues on a claim may be pending an adjudication decision for the following reasons:

  • The claim is awaiting a 10-day response from the employer as required by law for any unresolved separation from employment or separation pay issue.
  • A weekly certification has not been filed by the claimant.
  • The Division is awaiting additional information from either the employer or the claimant in order to process a determination.

Only when additional information is needed to process the claim.

IMPORTANT: The more detailed information provided on the initial questionnaire regarding separation from employment, the better. This may decrease the likelihood of additional information being requested.

An issue is an act or circumstance that could affect eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits based on North Carolina Employment Security law. Whenever an issue is discovered, benefit payments may be interrupted until the issue is resolved. There are three possible resolutions to an issue: 

1. The issue disqualifies either a portion or all unemployment insurance benefits.

2. The issue is not disqualifying; benefits are allowed. 

3. The issue is determined to be an error and can be removed by the Division of Employment Security (DES).

**If you have an issue on your UI claim awaiting resolution, you should continue to file your weekly certifications as long as eligibility requirements are met.

When a new claim is filed, your last employer is the most recent employer from whom you intended to work at least 30 calendar days. This does not include self-employment. Self-employment means working as a 1099 independent contractor or performing freelance work.

If you work a part-time job while also employed full time, and employment ended with the full-time employer, the full-time employer is your last employer. If still employed part time, continue to report earnings Sunday through Saturday when weekly certifications are filed.

Employers typically dispute unemployment claims for one of two reasons: 

1. The amount the employer pays toward unemployment insurance tax is based on the number of claims filed against the employer. 

2. The employer concluded the claimant was separated for cause.

At-will means the employer is not required to provide the employee a reason for separation. At-will does not apply to eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. Unemployment insurance is based on North Carolina Employment Security law.

A claimant may be disqualified from unemployment benefits if he or she is discharged for misconduct, willful behavior, or other justifiable causes that resulted in termination. A claimant may also be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if he or she quit without good cause attributable to the employer and continuing work was available. In addition, a claimant may be disqualified for all or partial benefits if he or she does not meet eligibility requirements or is receiving separation pay.

If the employer does not respond, the Adjudication Unit will review the claimant’s information to decide if additional information is needed before making a determination. 

Separation payment is any payment that was made, is being made, or will be made as a result of separation from employment. Separation pay may be in the form of: 

1. Wages in lieu of notice

2. Accrued vacation, Paid time off (PTO), and/or sick pay*

3. Terminal leave pay

4. Severance pay

5. Dismissal payments or wages (no matter what they are called)

*Accrued vacation, PTO, and/or sick pay will not be considered as separation pay if the payment was issued as a result of the employer's written policy established prior to the claimant’s last day of work.

Separation pay 

A claimant is not eligible for unemployment benefits during the coverage period of separation pay. This includes severance pay, wages in lieu of notice pay, and any other dismissal payments.

Vacation pay 

Vacation pay will not be considered if the payment was issued as a result of the employer's written policy established prior to the last day of work. Claimants receiving accrued vacation, PTO, and/or sick pay under these conditions will not be disqualified from receiving benefits. If no employer’s written policy existed prior to the last day worked, the claimant is not eligible for unemployment benefits during the coverage period of vacation pay.

  • If you have a pending application or appeal for disability benefits, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits. 
  • If you are receiving total disability benefits, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.  
  • If you are receiving partial disability benefits and are able to work, you may still qualify for unemployment benefits.

*If you are denied disability benefits and do not intend to appeal, contact the Customer Call Center (1-888-737-0259) for assistance.

In order to qualify for benefits, you must be able and available to work. If you are currently receiving worker's compensation benefits, you must inform the Customer Call Center (1-888-737-0259) immediately. The Division will determine whether you are eligible to receive benefits based upon the specifics of your worker's compensation claim and North Carolina Employment Security law.

Generally, you are not eligible for benefits during a leave of absence from your job. In order to be eligible for benefits, you must be unemployed through no fault of your own, be actively seeking work, and be able and available to accept work if it is offered to you. The Division will make a determination in each case.

An individual is disqualified for benefits if the Division determines the individual’s total or partial unemployment is caused by a labor dispute. 

If you do free-lance work, odd jobs, or other types of self-employment, you must be able, available, and actively seeking suitable work. Report gross earnings during the week earned (Sunday-Saturday) regardless of when the pay is received. 

Yes, this can be viewed by logging into your online account. For questions regarding the status of your claim, contact the Customer Call Center (1-888-737-0259).

This means you are eligible for benefits based on the particular issue.

For questions regarding the status of your claim, contact the Customer Call Center (1-888-737-0259).

You may file an appeal. Instructions on how to appeal are included in the determination letter.

Unfortunately, once your determination has been made, the case file is closed in the Adjudication Unit. If you file an appeal, your additional information can be provided at that time.

You may contact the Employer Call Center toll free at 866-278-3822, or update via your online account.