First of the month means rent is due. Here are some updates on North Carolina unemployment claims

The first of the month is a date of fear as bills are due and people are out of work.

The first round of unemployment benefit checks should be going out this week for people who have be able to get all their paperwork completed.

Others have not been so lucky and are still struggling to file for unemployment.

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"No one is answering the phones at the North Carolina Division of Employment Services, and there is no chat box," one person said.

"It is now day 16 and I'm not any further along than I was over 2 weeks ago!!" said another.

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ABC11 took several viewer questions to a state official.

What can I do if I get an "action required" notification, but I'm locked out of my account?

"Many people can reset usernames and passwords," said North Carolina Department of Commerce Employment Security Spokesperson Larry Parker. "We are working on changes to the process to help customers get their account unlocked without having to speak with someone."

Can I file if I technically have a job, but I'm not making the same amount of money or getting the same number of hours I used to?

"Anyone can file," said Parker. "There is a reduced hours option for those who's hours/pay has been cut."

What can I do if I filed for unemployment, but have been denied?

"If they have been denied, paperwork mailed to them lets them know how to file an appeal. Or they can email our appeals unit at des.public.appeals@nccommerce.com," said Parker.

What do people who were receiving unemployment benefits do? Not many places are hiring right now.

"We are waiting on guidance from the United States Department of Labor on how help those who have exhausted benefits," said Parker.

North Carolina is doing a few things right now to handle the crush of unemployment claims.

"Remember, we are taking a system that has been used to about 3,000 claims per week and now have put almost 300,000 on them," said Governor Roy Cooper.

The state is putting in a new server to help with internet capabilities and the online filing system, and contracted with an additional call center.

"Every one of those claims is important," said Cooper. "Every one of the people who have filed and requested help has lost a job, and I'll tell you people over there are working so hard to try and make sure that we get those benefits out."



MORE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:


What do I need to file a claim?
Your Social Security Number, Information about your most recent employment and pay, Work history for the last two years, Bank routing and account numbers for Direct Deposit. TIP: If you are filing due to COVID-19, select 'coronavirus' as your reason for separation.

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits if I become seriously ill and I am forced to quit my job as a result of COVID-19?
When filing for unemployment insurance, an employee must provide information about their decision to leave the job. In order to determine eligibility, you must first apply for unemployment.

How soon will individuals receive unemployment insurance benefits?
Individuals filing for benefits as a direct result of COVID-19 will automatically have their waiting week for benefits waived; however, your last employer will be given 10 days from the time you file your initial claim to provide separation information to DES. No payments will be released until after that that 10-day period.

Do I have to search for work while filing for unemployment?
If you are out of work as a result of COVID-19, you do not have to conduct a work search while filing for unemployment.

Financial information during the coronavirus pandemic: Unemployment, stimulus bill, loan information and more

What if I am temporarily laid off work because business has slowed down as a result of COVID-19?
If you are laid off work temporarily or if your hours are reduced due to a business slowdown or a lack of demand as a result of COVID-19, you may be able to receive unemployment benefits. In order to determine eligibility, you must first apply for unemployment. If you're temporarily out of work or working reduced hours due to COVID-19, select one of those two separation reasons when filing your claim.

What if my employer goes out of business as a result of COVID-19?
You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you're laid off. If you're out of work due to COVID-19, indicate that while filing your claim.

Are independent contractors eligible for unemployment insurance?
Independent contractors and self-employed workers are not typically eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. However, these individuals may qualify for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance available as a result of COVID-19. The Division of Employment Security is awaiting guidance from the federal government to implement the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Check des.nc.govfor updates.

My employer has shut down operations temporarily because an employee is sick, and we have been directed to be isolated or in quarantine as a result of COVID-19. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?
If you are not receiving payment from your employer, such as paid sick leave or paid time off, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits during this time. If you are laid off work temporarily or if your hours are reduced due to a business slowdown or a lack of demand as a result of COVID-19, you may be able to receive unemployment benefits. In order to determine eligibility, you must first apply for unemployment. If you're temporarily out of work or working reduced hours due to COVID-19, select one of those two separation reasons when filing your claim.

What if I need to take time off work because I contract COVID-19?
The first and best option for employees who need to miss work due to illness is to use their employer-paid time off. More information about paid time off here.

What if I am directed by a medical professional or public health official to quarantine as a result of COVID-19, but I am not sick?
If your employer is not offering paid time off, you should apply for unemployment insurance. If you are laid off work temporarily or if your hours are reduced due to a business slowdown or a lack of demand as a result of COVID-19, you may be able to receive unemployment benefits. In order to determine eligibility, you must first apply for unemployment. If you're temporarily out of work or working reduced hours due to COVID-19, please select one of those two separation reasons when filing your claim.

I am a part-time employee. Am I eligible for unemployment?
Anyone can file for unemployment insurance. In order to determine eligibility, you must first apply for unemployment. If you're temporarily out of work or working reduced hours due to COVID-19, select one of those two separation reasons when filing your claim.

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits if I become seriously ill and I am forced to quit my job as a result of COVID-19?
When filing for unemployment insurance, an employee must provide information about their decision to leave the job. In order to determine eligibility, you must first apply for unemployment.

I'm having trouble signing into my online account.
If you are experiencing issues with the password or PIN for your online account, email NCDESpasswordhelp@nccommerce.com for assistance.
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