Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance Benefits based on Immigration Status
Undocumented workers are not eligible for North Carolina unemployment insurance benefits.
In general, workers must have valid work authorization during the base period used to determine the benefit amount, at the time they apply, and through the entire period they are receiving benefits.
Unemployment Benefits and Public Charge
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security does not list unemployment insurance benefits as public benefits in public charge determinations.
Self-Employed and Independent Contract Workers
Self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers and others who would not traditionally qualify for North Carolina unemployment insurance may qualify under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. Individuals with valid work authorization can file a claim for this program on the DES website as of April 24, 2020. Find updates on the program here.
Please note there is a special hotline for PUA applicants, 866-847-7209.
PUA applicants can also call during additional special hours on Sundays from 12 – 5 p.m.
Where can I receive additional information?
Visit the DES COVID-19 help page for more information.