Unemployment eligibility time is getting shorter for North Carolinians

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There’s going to be a change in the amount of time you will be eligible for unemployment benefits here in North Carolina and it is partly due to the change in unemployment rates.

It has to do with extended federal unemployment benefits because of the pandemic. Those benefits were for those who had exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits.

Most states provide 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, which qualifies their residents for up to 13 weeks of extended federal benefits.

In North Carolina, we are only eligible for 9.6 weeks of extended federal benefits, but that’s about to change and become shorter.

On October 10, the number of weeks of federal unemployment benefits drops to 6 weeks for North Carolinians — the reason: the state’s unemployment rate.

DES says unemployment dropped from 8.5 percent in in July to 6.5 percent in August.

Currently, those on unemployment in this state can collect a maximum of $350 dollars, but many receive less than that.

DES determines your weekly benefit amount by adding your wages earned in the last two-quarters of the base period and dividing that number by 52, up to the maximum $350 per week benefit.

In September, Gov. Cooper signed a bill giving everyone collecting unemployment an additional $200 a month through December, but no one has seen that extra $50 bucks a week yet.

DES said the unemployed will have to wait till the end of October because it’s having trouble implementing the program.

The agency said it needs to make sure its computer system can handle what it calls a “very, very complex operation.”

If you still need to file for COVID-19 related unemployment remember:

  • Your eligibility and amount of benefits cannot be determined until after you file your claim.
  • You must complete a weekly certification for every week you are filing for benefits to receive payments.
  • If there are no issues, the first payment is within 14 days of filing your initial claim.

The state allows you to either apply either on line or by phone for benefits.

This special web page also contains specific information about the types of benefit programs available.

You can also call the DES Customer Call Center at 888-737-0259 or its Pandemic Unemployment Assistance line at 866-847-7209.

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