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    NC Lifts Unemployment Benefit Restrictions to Aid Those Impacted by COVID-19

    March 23rd, 2020

    North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is temporarily eliminating certain restrictions ordinarily placed on unemployment benefits in an effort to make it easier for individuals who have been affected by COVID-19, the Coronavirus, to qualify. He is also doing so in an effort to lessen the impact on businesses.

    Cooper made the decision after announcing that with the exception of takeout and delivery, he was ordering bars and restaurants across the state to close by 5 p.m. beginning on March 24th. “I recognize that this decision will cost people their jobs,” he said. “So this order also brings some relief.”

    Which Restrictions Are Being Lifted?

    Changes to unemployment restrictions announced include:

    • Lifting the waiting period to apply;
    • Lifting the requirement that the individual must be actively looking for a new job for benefits to continue;
    • Lifting the requirement that people must have lost their jobs (this will allow for individuals who don’t lose their job but receive a reduction in hours due to the coronavirus); and
    • Lifting the obligation for businesses to help pay for the unemployment benefits of previous employees.

    By allowing individuals who have seen a reduction in their hours to be eligible for unemployment benefits, Cooper hopes to help businesses that have been temporarily shut down due to the virus, to have employees when they are permitted to resume business.

    How Can You Apply?

    In order to apply for unemployment benefits in North Carolina, you must go to the website of the North Carolina Department of Commerce to find out which documents are needed to prove their claim.

    It is important to note that in order to apply you must be able to present certain important pieces of information including:

    • Social Security number;
    • Detailed work history from the past 2 years;
    • Information regarding any severance, separation, or vacation pay received or possible;
    • Information regarding any retirement pay;
    • A working email address.

    If you wish to receive your payment via direct deposit you must also include your bank routing and account number; otherwise, your payment will be put on a DES issued debit card.

    To apply for unemployment benefits, you can visit www.des.nc.gov at any time, or call 888-737-0259 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday Through Friday. If neither of these options are available, an individual may go in person to one of the NC Works Career Center offices.

    It is important to make sure that the location you are going to is open due to the coronavirus. It is in your best interest to call ahead, as some offices have limited hours and others have closed altogether. You can also check the operating status of each location online.

    At Henson Fuerst, we remain fully committed to our clients and are here for you during this difficult time. If we can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to call us at 919-781-1107. We wish you and your loved ones continued health and safety.