Filing for Unemployment Benefits

While unfortunate, a lot of us are being let go or put on unpaid furlough due to SARS-2/COVID-19. The governmental powers that be have pulled out all the stops to process unemployment claims more quickly than ever before, and they’ve waived the requirement to submit proof of job searching while receiving unemployment benefits. (source)

So all that remains is to file for unemployment benefits. EVEN IF YOU WEREN’T PAID LEGALLY. If you were working and now are no longer working, you should file and get money to get you through. No matter what. It is okay. You won’t get in trouble.

If you lost your job due to the novel coronavirus, if you’ve been put on unpaid furlough due to the novel coronavirus (either having it, or your employers are home so they told you to scram), or if your working hours have been reduced due to the novel coronavirus, you should file for unemployment benefits.

If you’re temporarily out of work or your working hours have been reduced due to COVID-19, choose one of those two separation reasons on the screen where you’ll enter and submit your claim information.

Department of Employment Security of NC

If for whatever reason you don’t have access to a web browser, you can file an application by calling 888-372-3453.

To file, you will need:

  1. Your social security or alien number.
  2. Information about any PTO or severance pay you’ve already received or should have received but didn’t.
  3. Details about your last week’s pay and proof that you received it.
  4. Your work history for the past two years including reasons why any jobs in that time period came to an end.

Now the potentially sad news: Not everyone who files for unemployment benefits will qualify. And this has nothing to do with whether or not your were paid legally (though it is the stance of the North Carolina Professional Association of Nannies that every nanny should be paid legally). It has to do with how much you worked in the time leading up to your un- or under-employment.

To qualify for benefits, you must have qualifying wages which are defined as six times the average insured weekly wages in at least two quarters of either the Base Period or an alternate Base Period.

Okay, so, that’s definitely a lot of words. What does that mean?

Firstly, let’s talk Base Period. It essentially means the full calendar year + 3 months leading up to the day you filed. Or in other words, “In the past year and three months.” Want this explained in chart form? Check out this link.

Now let’s talk about the average insured weekly wages. That number varies by what county you live/worked in. For example: Durham ($1,357), Mecklenburg ($1,271), Wake ($1,252), Orange ($1,186), Martin ($631). Check the link to see your county if it isn’t already listed here. And do note that if you are looking at the is website in some time which isn’t March or April 2020, you are going to need to find new and accurate numbers because these numbers change with time and we won’t be keeping the numbers current.

So now what? Now you take your county’s average insured weekly wage and multiply it by 6. This is your target number to hit. In any six month period of the Base Period, did you earn more than that? Great! You’ve qualified! So that tells you that if you get rejected, it was likely an error and to make sure to appeal.

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