Friday, October 22, 2021

Five Tips for Filing for Unemployment Benefits

Oct 22, 2021

When you’re filing for unemployment benefits, it’s important to read all the information you receive from the Division of Employment Security, know your responsibilities and provide accurate information. If you don’t, you may have to pay back benefits you were not eligible to receive, or you may be committing fraud.

Follow these five tips to avoid errors and help ensure you receive proper benefit payments.

  1. Accurately report the reason you are unemployed. When you apply for benefits, provide accurate information about the reason you separated from your job.
  2. File your weekly certification every week. In order to be paid benefits, you must submit a weekly certification after each week you are unemployed. The weekly certification asks questions that help verify that you were able, available, and looking for work that week. You should file weekly certifications even while you are waiting to learn if you are eligible for benefits. Weekly certifications can be filed online at or with the NCDES mobile app.
  3. Report any money you earn. If you work while receiving unemployment benefits, you must report the money you earn when filing your weekly certifications. Always report your income for the week that you worked. Do not wait until you are paid to report your earnings. You must report all forms of income, including weekly earnings, income from odd jobs, retirement, severance, separation pay, wages in lieu of notice and workers' compensation. Failure to do so may result in you having to repay an overpayment of benefits.
  4. Search and register for work. To receive unemployment benefits, you are required by state law to make contact with at least three different employers each week and keep a record of your work search. You are also required to register with a jobseeker account on, North Carolina’s online portal for employment and training services.
  5. When you start working again, stop filing weekly certifications for benefits. To avoid overpayments, stop filing as soon as you return to work; do not wait until you receive your first paycheck.

Need help? Contact the DES Customer Call Center at 888-737-0259 and learn more at