Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment Insurance

Need Help Understanding Your Unemployment Insurance Claim?

Thousands of North Carolinians are still impacted by COVID-19 and will continue to seek financial assistance through the state’s Unemployment Insurance Program.

After September 4, 2021, state unemployment benefits will be the only benefits available in North Carolina.  Under state law, state unemployment benefits currently provide eligible claimants with up to 13 weeks of benefits in a one-year period, with a maximum benefit of $350 a week.

All federal pandemic unemployment programs under the CARES ACT end September 4, 2021.  These programs include Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC). 

How to apply for unemployment benefits:

  • online at des.nc.gov
  • by phone at 1-888-737-0259 ( If you cannot get through, keep trying and document your attempts.)
  • Remember to fill out the weekly certifications online at des.nc.gov or by calling 1-888-372-3453 every week, even if your application has not been approved yet or you have been disqualified for benefits and have filed an appeal.

What happens after September 4, 2021?

  • The week ending September 4, 2021, is the last week of unemployment for which you can receive federal benefits. You may file your weekly certification for that week on or after September 5, 20201, and if eligible, you will receive payment for your last week of federal benefits.
  • State unemployment insurance benefits will continue to be available after September 4, 2021.  Under state law, state unemployment benefits currently provide eligible claimants with up to 13 weeks of benefits in a one-year period, with a maximum benefit of $350 a week.

What if I was receiving pandemic unemployment benefits?

  • Some Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claimants became eligible for state unemployment benefits at the beginning of their new benefit year but were allowed to stay on PEUC under state and federal guidelines.  After September 4, 2021, these claimants will be moved back onto state benefits at their new weekly benefit amount, without a gap in payments. Claimants in this situation do not need to file a new claim for state unemployment benefits.
  • Self-employed workers or independent contractors who were receiving unemployment benefits through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) will no longer be eligible for unemployment after September 4, 2021. 
  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), that provided an additional $300 in unemployment benefits, is ending September 4, 2021.

Additional Information:

Visit the DES FAQ page for more about changes to federal unemployment insurance benefits and eligibility for state benefits.

Resources available after federal unemployment insurance benefits end on September 4, 2021

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