North Carolina Unemployment

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Unemployment Benefits Eligibility

General Benefits Eligibility Criteria

Qualifying for unemployment benefits is decided by whether or not you meet certain criteria. Each state sets its own criteria, which is decided based on the amount of money earned by unemployment insurance and the number of people filing.

Like the rest of the nation, North Carolina has its own set of criteria for making an unemployment claim. The individual details deciding your unemployment benefits, however, will vary.

Work Eligibility Criteria

As with any state, North Carolina has a simple list of work eligibility criteria which you must meet before you can receive unemployment benefits. You must have:

  • Worked for the last 12 or 18 months and contributed unemployment insurance taxes
  • Lost your job through no fault of your own – such as being laid off or fired for non-misconduct reasons
  • The ability to work and actively searching for work
  • Registered for work at a Workforce Development Center
  • Certified your weekly claim, including logging at least five job search results a week

Certain types of employers don't pay unemployment taxes, such as those who offer part-time work. Other employers that don't pay these taxes include single-owner businesses that hire family members of the owner or church-related businesses.

It’s important to note that you will not qualify for unemployment if you quit your job under your own volition. In other words, you will not qualify if you quit your job for personal reasons or if you were terminated due to negative disobediences, conscious disregard for your employer, and violating reasonable standards of behavior in the workplace.

Wages Eligibility Criteria

Beyond the above-mentioned work criteria are a range of wages eligibility criteria. These include earning at least six times the average insured weekly salary ($824) during the base period. The base period is calculated either as a yearly calendar or the last 12 months of an 18-month period. If you don't qualify under one of those base period time-frames, the other will be gauged.

To calculate this rate, multiply $824 by six to come up with your minimum wage eligibility criteria, which is $4,944. This means you have to have made at least $4,944 during one of the two base period time-frames mentioned above in order to qualify.

Check your payment stubs over both base periods and add up your earnings to gauge if you qualify. There's a good chance that most people in North Carolina who worked full-time do qualify. If you are uncertain, file for unemployment as filing is always the best way to determine your eligibility..

NOTE: You must meet all sets of criteria mentioned above. It's not enough to have simply made the minimum wage amount or to have met the work criteria. Meeting the criteria set out in both types is necessary to receive unemployment benefits.

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Unemployment Availability Limits

When you receive unemployment benefits in North Carolina, there are a variety of rules that are set in place that may disqualify you from receiving further benefits. These include:

  • Starting a full-time job
  • Refusing suitable work when offered
  • Failing to consistently look for work (can include losses for a singular week or total loss)

Obtaining a part-time job will not disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits, but it will decrease the amount of benefits available to you. You are allowed to make up to 20 percent of your weekly benefit amount, in part-time work each week, while on unemployment. Anything you make over that 20 percent, while on unemployment, will be taken out of your Weekly Benefit Amount.

EXAMPLE: Let’s say that your Weekly Benefit Amount is $300 and you earn $150 a week from your part-time job. The amount of $150 is 50 percent of your weekly benefit amount and 30 percent higher than the minimum allowed of 20 percent. To get your new weekly benefit amount,  figure the excess percentage (30 percent) of your weekly benefit amount ($300 x 30% = $90) and subtract it from your Weekly Benefit Amount ($300-$90 = $210). Your new weekly benefit amount is then $210.

Unemployment Extensions

During moments of extreme unemployment, such as those that occurred after the 2008 economic recession, the federal government often offers unemployment extensions. These extension programs were cancelled in 2012, and North Carolina has not compensated with its own replacement program.