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Unemployment Help

For the most up-to-date information about resources to help you and your family through this challenging time, please register for our enews.


Update: 5/5/20 - NC Unemployment Contacts

How can your Contact NC Department of Commerce for Unemployment?

The office is open 7 days a week, including Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm. They can be reached by the following phone numbers:

  • General phone number: 888-737-0259
  • Pandemic assistance line: 866-847-7209
  • To file an appeal: 919-707-1060

For more information, click here


Update: 4/8/20 - Unemployment Benefits for the Self-Employed + $600 Weekly Increase in Benefit

Expanded Eligibility and Increased Money Benefits for the Unemployed

Self-Employed or Were Seeking Part-Time Work? You Likely Now Qualify for Unemployment Insurance.

  • The federal government has expanded the Unemployment Insurance Program to include individuals who normally would be ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. This includes self-employed people, those seeking part-time employment, or those who wouldn’t normally qualify for unemployment benefits under state or federal law.
  • Applicants must show that they could work but are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work to work because of COVID-19.
  • NC anticipates being able to accept claims for this assistance around April 25, 2020. Learn more here.

$600 Weekly Increase to State Unemployment Benefits During COVID-19

  • Those whose work has been impacted by COVID-19 and are eligible to receive unemployment benefits will receive an extra $600 weekly payment for up to 13 weeks. 
  • NC expects to start making these first payments by April 17, 2020. Learn more here.

Haven’t Applied for Unemployment Insurance Yet? 

  • Apply now even if you’re not sure if you are eligible. All applications during the COVID-19 crisis must be filed online here or by phone at 1-888-737-0259.
  • The NC online system is very slow right now; be persistent and patient to get your application submitted. We recommend keeping a log of any attempts to apply and all interactions with NC Unemployment Insurance.
  • Unemployment benefits are taxable and you can choose to have taxes withheld from your unemployment check.  If you opt not to, know that you might have taxes due when you file your tax return and you might want to consider setting up a set-aside savings to have money available to pay those taxes when due.
  • Pisgah Legal Services recommends that if you apply and are denied, appeal the decision online regardless.

Update: 3/26/20 - New Rules for Unemployment

Unemployment Help

NC Unemployment Rules Have Changed to Respond to COVID-19

  • No one week waiting time;
  • Workers won’t have to demonstrate they’re actively looking for a job;
  • Assistance is also available for those who have lost hours;
  • Employers are not required to pay for benefits for those seeking unemployment;
  • Want to Apply? All applications during the COVID-19 crisis must be filed online here or by phone at 1-888-737-0259 and;
  • Learn more here.

Having Difficulty Applying?

  • The NC online system is very slow right now; be persistent and patient to get your application submitted. We recommend keeping a log of any attempts to apply and all interactions with NC Unemployment Insurance.
  • Pisgah Legal Services recommends that if you apply and are denied, appeal the decision online regardless.

Pisgah Legal Services Can Help

  • Facing difficulty applying or with other employment matters related to COVID 19?
    Pisgah Legal has attorneys available to provide advice by phone to anyone who needs this help. Connect with them online or call 800-489-6144.
  • Review their all-you-need-to-know resource page about unemployment during COVID-19.

More Benefits Expansion on the Horizon

  • The Federal stimulus package contains additional support for gig workers and the self-employed as well as more robust benefits for all.  The package still has to be approved by the House of Representatives.  More information will follow in the Digest once the bill is finalized.
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