Before You Apply

The unemployment insurance system pays temporary assistance to eligible individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Not everyone who applies for unemployment benefits will qualify. Certain conditions must be met in order to meet initial eligibility requirements and to remain eligible to receive benefits. Individuals pay no part of the costs of unemployment benefits. Employers pay the full cost of unemployment benefits.

Filing your claim will go faster if you have the following important information before you begin:

 All Individuals

  • Your Social Security Number.
  • Details from your most recent employer about separation, vacation or severance pay you received, will receive, or are entitled to receive.
  • Details regarding any retirement pay (gross monthly amount of pay along with proof).
  • Your bank routing number and account number if you would like unemployment payments directly deposited into your bank account. If you do not select direct deposit, payment will be placed on a DES issued debit card.
  • Your work history for the past two years (employer name as it appears on your check stub, employer's payroll and physical addresses, telephone number, employment dates, rate of pay and reason for separation from each employer).


  • Your Alien number and expiration date from your Employment Authorization Document.

 Former Federal Employees

  • Your SF-50 form, SF-8 form, pay stub(s) or W-2 (if you worked in federal employment within the past two years). If this information is unavailable, you may provide it later. Please proceed in filing your claim. 

Former Military Personnel 

  • Your DD214, Member 4 Copy. If your DD214 is unavailable, you may provide it later. Please proceed in filing your claim.  

Eligibility Requirements

There are FOUR criteria that you must meet to be eligible for unemployment benefits in North Carolina:

  •  You must be unemployed due to no fault of your own (DES will make this determination based upon information provided by you and your last employer);
  •  You must be considered monetarily eligible (earned sufficient wages to establish a claim);
  •  You must be physically able, available and actively seeking work; and  
  •  You must register for work with your resident state's job service office. In North Carolina that service is NCWorks Online.