STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE COST MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Office of State Personnel
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE QUICK REFERENCE SHEET
This reference guide includes informative excerpts from the North Carolina Employment Security
Commission (ESC) website. The ESC website contains a wealth of helpful information such as the
Benefits Estimator for calculating your approximate weekly benefit amount, to locate the nearest ESC
Local Office, or file an unemployment claim on-line. The ESC web address is www.ncesc.com.
Potentially eligible claimants must have become unemployed through no fault of their own. All
claimants, except those who are still attached to an employer's payroll, must (a) register for work with
the Employment Security Commission; (b) file a claim for each calendar week of benefits they
request, and (c) actively seek work during any week for which unemployment benefits are claimed.
Actively seeking work means doing those things that an unemployed person who wants to work
would normally do. Unless otherwise instructed, a claimant must seek work in person on two
different days with at least two different employers and must keep a written record of all work search
contacts for periodic review by Commission staff.
WEEKLY BENEFIT AMOUNT (2004-05)
Maximum $426.00 (Revised Annually the first week of August)
WEEKLY BENEFIT AMOUNT FORMULA: Divide the sum of the wages earned during the
highest quarter of the base period by 26, rounded down to the next lower whole dollar. The result
cannot exceed the maximum weekly benefit amount allowed by law. If the amount is less than fifteen
dollars ($15.00), the individual is not eligible for benefits.
The Base Period is made up of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the
A Calendar Quarter consists of a three consecutive month period in the calendar year:
1st Quarter = January 1 through March 31
2nd Quarter = April 1 through June 30
3rd Quarter = July 1 through September 30
4th Quarter = October 1 through December 31
Weekly Benefit Calculation Example:
Employee Smith worked for Agency X during the base period and was
paid total wages of $12,498.90 and high quarter wages of $3,639.38.
The weekly benefit amount (WBA) determined for Employee Smith is:
WBA = $3,639.38 (High Qtr Wages) divided by 26
WBA = $139.97
WBA = $139.00 (rounded down to the next lower dollar)
DURATION OF BENEFITS:
Minimum 13 WEEKS
Maximum 26 WEEKS
DURATION FORMULA: Duration is calculated by dividing the total base period wages by the
high quarter wages and then multiplying the result by eight and two-thirds. A result which is not a
whole number is rounded to the nearest whole number; a result that is less than 13 or more than 26 is
raised or lowered to the minimum or maximum duration.
Duration Calculation Example:
Based on the wage information reported for Employee Smith, the duration of the claim is:
$12,498.90 (Total BP Wages) divided by $3,639.38 (High Qtr Wages) x 8 2/3 = 29.73
Duration = 26 weeks (lowered to maximum)
How does one file a claim for unemployment benefits?
A totally separated individual may file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits at the nearest
Employment Security Commission local office. For a complete listing of local offices, refer to the
Employment Security Commission Offices Directory or use the online ESC Office Locator
(www.ncesc.com). Additionally, ESC now provides most claimants the ability to apply online. If you
have earned wages in North Carolina and live in North Carolina or a border state, then you can file
for benefits and register for work in as little as 20 minutes online.
What Is A Separation Payment? How Does It Affect An Individual's Benefit Claim?
A separation payment is any payment which was made, is being made, or will be made, to an
individual as result of separation from last employment. Separation pay may be in the form of wages
in lieu of notice, accrued vacation pay, terminal leave pay, severance pay, or accumulated sick leave
payment. An individual who receives separation pay is not considered to be unemployed during the
time period covered by the payment. If the employer does not specify a period of time covered by the
separation payment, the Commission will use the claimant's previous pay rate to compute the covered
time period. The resulting number is added to the last day of actual work to determine the date the
individual is no longer in pay status. Week-ends are not used in computing time covered by
separation payments for persons who worked a five-day week. The effective date of the new claim is
the Sunday of the calendar week in which the number of days covered by the separation payment is
less than five.
Note: Individuals receiving separation pay are considered to be unemployed during any week that
they are registered at or attending an institution of higher learning, a secondary school or an approved
Commission training program.
What are Extended Benefits?
The Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation Act (TEUC) of 2002 was signed by the
President, March 9, 2002. Unemployed workers who filed a new claim for unemployment insurance
beginning on or after March 11, 2001, and have exhausted their benefits may be eligible. ESC is now
taking applications for extended benefits.
Who may be eligible for this extension?
Unemployed individuals who filed an initial claim effective on or after March 11, 2001 are
potentially eligible for TEUC. Individuals filing new benefit years that are monetarily ineligible may
also qualify based on their previous claim. You must first file a new claim if your benefit year has