Governor Cooper announces first COVID-19 unemployment benefits will be paid this week

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Governor Roy Cooper announced on Sunday that the first unemployment benefits are set to be paid this week, according to a statement from the governor.

The full statement is provided below:

“Today, Governor Roy Cooper announced that the first payments for the unemployment claims related to coronavirus will begin going out this week. The Division of Employment Security has received an unprecedented number of unemployment insurance claims since Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order No. 118 on March 17. 

In the past two weeks, approximately 270,000 claims have been filed, with most of them related to COVID-19. For comparison, the state received about 7,500 claims in the first two weeks of March, before the order was issued.

“Thousands of workers have lost jobs, but their bills don’t stop. My administration is working overtime to get unemployment checks out now. We’ll keep pushing every day for more state and federal help to save our workers and their families,” said Governor Cooper. 

On Saturday, the Governor directed the Division of Employment Security to begin implementing the unemployment insurance provisions of the federal CARES Act. The Division of Employment of Security expects to receive guidance from the federal government later this week about how to implement the changes, including the change that allows for an additional $600 in unemployment benefits. The state expects those payments to begin approximately two weeks after that guidance is provided.  

Workers applying for benefits must complete their weekly certifications in order to receive unemployment insurance payments. The weekly certification is a series of ‘yes or no’ questions that helps determine a person’s eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits each week. If a person does not complete a weekly certification, they will not receive a payment for that week. 

The weekly certification must be completed through the individual’s online account at des.nc.gov.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROCESS

For general questions about unemployment benefits in North Carolina during the COVID-19 crisis, contact the Division of Employment Security

For more information and additional guidance on regulations and recommendations related to the health threat from COVID-19, please visit the NCDHHS website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus and CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.”

Cooper directed the Division of Employment Security to begin implementing the unemployment insurance provisions of the federal CARES Act.

Employment officials expect to receive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor later this week about how to implement the changes, including the change that allows for an additional $600 in weekly unemployment benefits.

The additional $600 will be for weeks ending April 4 – July 31. 

Those payments are expected to begin going out approximately two weeks after guidance is provided. Any benefits that are owed will be paid retroactively.

Officials will continue to update the website www.des.nc.gov as more information becomes available.

Also, you can now find a daily claim count update on our COVID-19 Information page.

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North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline: 1-866-462-3821

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